2018 Annual Climate Trends and Impacts Summary for the Great Lakes Basin

Coordinated by a partnership between climate services organizations in the U.S. and Canada, this product provides a synthesis report summarizing the previous years’ climate trends, events, new research, assessments, and related activities in the Great Lakes Region. This product is a contribution to the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, through Annex 9 on Climate Change Impacts, and to the national climate assessment processes in the U.S. and Canada. It should be cited as: Environment and Climate Change Canada and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2018 Annual Climate Trends and Impacts Summary for the Great Lakes Basin. 2019.


2018 Document
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During the 2018 reporting period, several notable events and trends were observed across the Great Lakes basin, including rapid shifts in both temperature and precipitation. Some areas saw record-breaking cold and record-breaking warmth within a matter of weeks. The basin also experienced localized flooding, drought, and high ice cover. Water levels in the five Great Lakes continued to be above average, following the trend observed during the past several years. There was an early onset of ice cover due to extreme cold conditions in late December 2017 and early January 2018. At 69% areal coverage, Great Lakes maximum ice cover for the year was 14% above the long-term average.

Contributing Partners

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
Midwestern Regional Climate Center
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Ontario Climate Consortium



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If using any of the figures from the document (available for download here), please use the following citation:

Environment and Climate Change Canada and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2018 Annual Climate Trends and Impacts Summary for the Great Lakes Basin: Supplemental Materials. 2019. Available at binational.net