Contact: Dr. Jenna Jorns, Program Manager, Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA),


The U.S. Global Change Research Program has released Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, detailing the impacts climate change could bring to the Midwest/Great Lakes regions.

The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA) team provided critical contributions to the Fourth National Climate Assessment: Program Manager Jenna Jorns and GLISA Co-Director Maria Carmen Lemos were authors on the Midwest regional chapter, with Research Assistant Katherine Browne acting as a technical contributor.

“The message of this report is that things are getting more threatening, but also it is inviting us to think about things we can do right now to either mitigate the effects of climate change or better respond to recover from it,” said Lemos.

The Assessment identifies primary human health, agriculture, forestry, and biodiversity/ecosystem risks to the Midwest/Great Lakes regions, including shifts in precipitation patterns and intensity, increased susceptibility to pests, increased flooding, increased heat, and lower air and water quality.

“We have already seen warmer temperatures in our air and in our lakes. The chapter features a special feature on the Great Lakes themselves that talks about the decline we have seen in lake ice cover. We have seen changes in agriculture, the length of the growing season and what types of crops can be planted, as well as changes in forestry. What types of trees can grow in our region for example,” said Jorns.

Also highlighted are ongoing community adaptation projects, including GLISA’s role in the Great Lakes Climate Adaptation Network (GLCAN), an example of GLISA’s Linked Boundary Chain Model.

About the Fourth National Climate Assessment

Mandated in the Global Change Research Act passed by Congress in 1990, the National Climate Assessment synthesizes the state of climate knowledge and assesses climate change impacts, risks, and adaptation across the United States every four years. The main objective is to help Americans better identify, avoid, and/or reduce climate-related risks. The National Climate Assessment process relies on consensus and undergoes extensive review.

Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment builds upon the physical science assessment presented in Volume I, the Climate Science Special Report, released in November 2017. Vol. II places a strong emphasis on regional information, addressing the impacts of climate change on 10 regions of the United States. It also evaluates the risks from climate changes across 15 national-level topics, often using case studies to provide additional context and showcase community success stories.

The report was written by more than 300 Federal and non-Federal authors representing a range of expertise, a number of whom were selected through a public call for nominations. The Midwest chapter alone has 15 authors and 8 contributors, and is backed by more than 250 citations from published articles, reports, and books.

The full National Climate Assessment report can be viewed online at

and Chapter 31: Midwest at

For Volume I of the NCA4, Climate Science Special Report, please visit