2017 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. 2017 Annual Climate Trends and Impacts Summary for the Great Lakes Basin. 2018.

2017 Document
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During the 2017 reporting period, several notable events and trends were observed across the Great Lakes basin including higher than average seasonal temperature and precipitation, flooding, and low ice cover. The majority of the region experienced a wet spring with persistent heavy rain and snowfall. Water levels in the five Great Lakes were above average, continuing a similar trend during the past several years. Due primarily to high spring rainfall, Lake Ontario reached its highest ever recorded water level in May 2017 resulting in shoreline flooding in New York and Ontario. Winter and fall warm spells led to record warm temperatures in parts of the basin. At just 15% areal coverage, Great Lakes maximum ice cover for the year was 40% below the long-term average.

August 28th, 2018 webinar explaining the background and content of the document.

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


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