Mission

The RISA Program

GLISA is one of 11 Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) teams supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that focus on helping the nation prepare for and adapt to climate variability and change.

Started in 1995, RISA’s interdisciplinary research teams work with the public and private sector, including local, regional, state, and Tribal governments as well as federal agencies, utilities, businesses, and nonprofits. The main goals of the RISA program are to: 

  • Work with decision-makers to understand policy, planning, and management decision contexts to develop tailored climate information that analyzes both climatic and non-climatic stressors;
  • Translate climate information into actionable knowledge through scenario planning, participatory assessment, and experimental service development;
  • Create innovative services, products, and tools to bridge the gap between climate science and climate science users;
  • Advance science policy through relationship building, supporting regional scientific capacity, and developing science in support of society.

Learn more about the NOAA RISA teams in the RISA 1-pager.

See NOAA’s 1-pager on GLISA’s role within the RISA program or example projects on city infrastructure and natural resources in Michigan and Wisconsin, respectively.

GLISA History

GLISA was established in 2010 as a collaboration between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. As the NOAA RISA for the Great Lakes region, GLISA serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the United States, and the Province of Ontario in Canada. 

In GLISA Phase I (2010-2015), GLISA used two adaptive approaches to achieve its goals that combine the expertise of both social and physical scientists. First, through a grants competition, GLISA developed a flexible research program committed to annually soliciting, reviewing, and selecting proposals for both creating usable science and bridging/brokering this science to regional users. Second, GLISA tailored, customized, and curated climatologies and climate projections from multiple sources in response to the needs of scientists, stakeholders, and Tribal partners in the region. This adaptive model expanded the breadth and depth of GLISA’s work while building a reputation of responsiveness and trust among the region’s stakeholders and organizations.  

In Phase II (2016-2021), GLISA continued this approach to expand our breadth and depth in the region by investing a substantial portion of our core funding in engagement and co-production of usable information and focusing on cities, Tribes, and agriculture. We systematically applied to outside grants to expand our research and impact, formed a Science Advisory Committee and Practitioner Working Group to serve our Great Lakes Ensemble project, and added Co-PI Michael Notaro at the University of Wisconsin as a formal partner.

Agriculture

GLISA Phase I Report

Managing Climate Change and Variability Risks in the Great Lakes Region (2010-2016)

Our Region

The Great Lakes (GL) region represents a unique socio-ecological system shaped by abundant water resources and diverse ecosystems across eight US states and two Canadian provinces. The Great Lakes link, define, and shape a complex, cross-scale region with 10,000 miles of shoreline, 84% of North America’s non-frozen freshwater, and important economies in shipping, power production, manufacturing, drinking water, and recreation.1 In recent decades, the region has been increasingly influenced by multiple and overlapping stressors — including climate impacts that have negatively affected GL communities and ecosystems and may further threaten the region’s long-term sustainability and social equity. Climate change and impacts are already affecting at-risk communities in the GL region, such as farmers, tribes, the elderly, low-income urban, rural, and coastal communities, and businesses.2

The Midwest is the US region with the largest expected damages to infrastructure due to climate change.3 Increasing extreme precipitation events are already overwhelming stormwater systems, disrupting transportation networks, and causing damage to infrastructure and property.4 A US EPA report estimates that even after considering the benefits of milder winters, higher temperatures associated with unmitigated climate change would result in approximately $6B/year in added road maintenance costs and over $1B in impacts to rail transportation by 2090.5 Extreme heat, causing hardships to the most vulnerable such as the elderly and low-income populations, is projected to result in losses in labor and associated revenue of up to $9.8B/year in 2050.6 However, investing in preparedness and adaptation avoids between $4 and $11 of damage for every $1 invested, depending on the hazard.7

GLISA Team

GLISA’s team of social and physical scientists is composed of faculty, staff, researchers, and students at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and the University of Wisconsin. Here some of the team poses for a photo after hosting a successful 2018 Great Lakes Adaptation Forum.

References

  1. Rau, Emily, Catherine Riseng, Lynn Vaccaro, and Jennifer G. Read. “The Dynamic Great Lakes Employment Trends from 2009 to 2018.” October 2020. https://www.michiganseagrant.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/MICHU-20-203-Great-Lakes-Jobs-Report.pdf.
  2. Angel, James R., Chris Swanson, Barbara Mayes Boustead, Kathryn Conlon, Kimberly R. Hall, Jenna L. Jorns, Kenneth E. Kunkel, et al. “Chapter 21: Midwest.” In Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II. U.S. Global Change Research Program, (2018): 872–940. https://doi.org/10.7930/nca4.2018.ch21.
  3. United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research & Development. “Multi-Model Framework for Quantitative Sectoral Impacts Analysis: A Technical Report for the Fourth National Climate Assessment.” 2017. Accessed February 5, 2021. https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_Report.cfm?Lab=OAP&dirEntryId=335095.
  4. Angel, James R., Chris Swanson, Barbara Mayes Boustead, Kathryn Conlon, Kimberly R. Hall, Jenna L. Jorns, Kenneth E. Kunkel, et al. “Chapter 21: Midwest.” In Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II. U.S. Global Change Research Program, (2018): 872–940. https://doi.org/10.7930/nca4.2018.ch21.
  5. United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research & Development. “Multi-Model Framework for Quantitative Sectoral Impacts Analysis: A Technical Report for the Fourth National Climate Assessment.” 2017. Accessed February 5, 2021. https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_Report.cfm?Lab=OAP&dirEntryId=335095.
  6. United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research & Development. “Multi-Model Framework for Quantitative Sectoral Impacts Analysis: A Technical Report for the Fourth National Climate Assessment.” 2017. Accessed February 5, 2021. https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_Report.cfm?Lab=OAP&dirEntryId=335095.
  7. National Institute of Building Sciences. “National Institute of Building Sciences Issues New Report on the Value of Mitigation.” Accessed February 5, 2021. https://www.nibs.org/news/381874/National-Institute-of-Building-Sciences-Issues-New-Report-on-the-Value-of-Mitigation.htm.