Expanding the Great Lakes Adaptation Date Suite (GLADS) for Comprehensive Climate Adaptation Planning

Climate change continues to exacerbate existing vulnerabilities to natural ecosystems, built infrastructure, and cultural practices throughout the Great Lakes region. Developing effective and sustainable solutions to these challenges requires credible and consistent climate-related data and synthesized information, which has been evaluated by trusted experts. The Great Lakes Adaptation Data Suite (GLADS) intends to serve this purpose, providing vetted climate information to practitioners in an easy-to-use public platform.

From 2015 to 2017, GLISA received funding from GLOS to create a data suite compiling over land and over-lake observational information within the Great Lakes basin to integrate existing point-based and gridded observational data sets for the first time. We continue to maintain the data suite with monthly updates (adding new data sets when appropriate), perform internal quality assurance and quality control, and provide data to users upon request. GLOS provided additional funding for 2018 to 2021 to GLISA for continuing this initiative of developing and deploying the GLADS. The GLADS integrates data from multiple publicly available sources with common standards, and GLISA hosted data on the GLOS Cloud Server as the first step to provide vetted climate information to practitioners in an easy-to-use public platform. The second and third years of funding involve the development of a front-end user interface to allow users to customize data queries and downloads directly. 

Additionally, decision-makers in the region are increasingly interested in combining observational data with future climate projections tailored for their locations, and a number of existing climate models and model ensembles (i.e., groups of models) are already available to draw regional data from. However, the usefulness of these data is limited by internal model construction and climate representation, as well as by the choice of the climate forcing scenario that drives the models. As part of our Ensemble project, GLISA is bringing together regional climate experts and stakeholders to customize the selection and delivery of climate projections in a way that is meaningful to end-users (see Development of a Consumer Reports Framework to Present Future Climate Information for Practitioners). Here, we are integrating future projections into GLADS by extracting projected changes from the dataset which best represents the climate of our region (e.g., the International Centre for Theoretical Physics Regional Climate Model Version 4) at mid- and late-century for a number of variables. GLISA will work with Canadian partners in the development of the Ontario Climate Divisions which will provide boundaries for various jurisdictions in Ontario, Canada.

Datasets in GLADS

Data cover the 8 Great Lakes States (MN, IL, IN, MI, NY, OH, PA, & WI) and portions of Ontario. When available, time steps have been standardized to daily, monthly, seasonal, and annual steps. Gridded products have been resampled to the 1.8 km grid from the GLAHF framework and are available in Georeferenced TIFF files.

Datasets include:

  • GLISA quality-controlled NCEI Global Historical Climatology Network Daily
  • NCEI Climate Divisions
  • NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis
  • University of Delaware Gridded Air Temperature and Precipitation
  • GLERL Percentage Lake Ice Cover
  • GLERL Lakewide Water Temperature
  • GLERL Master Gauge Water Levels
  • NDBC Standard Meteorological Data

The spatial domain of the Great Lakes Adaptation Data Suite (GLADS). Data sets are categorized in the following way: point-based, spatially-aggregated, and gridded products of both over-land and over-lake observations.

Project Accomplishments

  • Hosting data on the GLOS Cloud Server
  • Creation of a prototype interface where users can retrieve the GLADS data
  • Calculation of temperature and precipitation projections for all 76 Great Lakes Climate Divisions for the U.S.

GLISA’s Contribution

GLISA is the grantee of this grant from the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS). GLISA is working with GLOS to host the GLADS data and with Boxcar Studios integrate the prototype interface with the GLOS Cloud Server. In addition to the GLADS being publicly available, GLISA will work with partners to demonstrate the usability of the GLADS in their own work. 

GLISA facilitated a meeting with our Canadian partners to understand the best spatial coverage of divisions in Ontario, Canada. These divisions will help in processing historical observations similar to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Climate Divisions. This is an ongoing effort that will supplement the climate data available in the Great Lakes region.