Great Lakes Prospectives

A Product of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement


The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (Agreement) is a commitment between the governments of the United States and Canada. First signed in 1972 and most recently amended in 2012, the two countries have coordinated to advance protection and restoration of the Great Lakes for 50 years. Promoting research and advancing the understanding of and communicating about climate change impacts was added to the Agreement with the 2012 amendments as Annex 9: Climate Change Impacts. These prospective reports, and their retrospective counterparts, were developed to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Agreement in 1972 and provide an overview of future climate trends and impacts for each lake and its basin. These reports were created through Annex 9 to serve the work being done by the other annexes of the Agreement (in particular the Lakewide Action and Management Plans or LAMPs), and by natural resources managers and decision makers across the Great Lakes region.

Given the effects of climate change on lake temperatures, ice cover, and many other variables, the physical dynamics of the lakes are not the same today as they were in decades past, nor will they be the same in the future. Climate models can be a helpful tool in identifying important information about direction change and estimated magnitude of future trends. Each lake-specific prospective report includes an overview of impacts in the basin, and utilizes a multimodel ensemble of climate model simulations to analyze future projections for lake levels, overlake precipitation, air temperature, evaporation, and runoff. The reports also examine uncertainty and model biases, so that potential users can make an informed decision about utilizing these results in their applications.

Click one of the lakes below to be taken to its Prospective Report.

Lake Superior
Lake Michigan
Lake Huron
Lake Erie
Lake Ontario

Acknowledgements These summary reports were developed by the GLISA team with funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and support from an advisory group made up of the following individuals: 

  • Alex Cannon, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Steve Clement, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Jennifer Day, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Jenessa Doherty, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • John Haugland, Environmental Protection Agency
  • Shaffina Kassam, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Doug Kluck, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Sharon Lam, Toronto and Regional Conservation Authority
  • Glenn Milner, Climate Risk Institute
  • Biljana Music, Ouranos
  • Michael Notaro, University of Wisconsin
  • Frank Seglenieks, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Ram Yerubandi, Environment and Climate Change Canada

GLISA Contributors

  • Kim Channell
  • John DelPizzo
  • Laura Briley
  • Richard Rood
  • Jenna Jorns
  • Kate Hutchens
If you have questions, comments, or feedback on the Great Lakes Prospectives, please contact Kim Channell (