Annual Climate Trends and Impacts Summary for the Great Lakes Basin

A product of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement – Annex 9

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. 2023 Annual Climate Trends and Impacts Summary for the Great Lakes Basin. 2024.

2023 Document

Documents will also soon be available at (currently under review by Environment and Climate Change Canada)

French Version (coming soon)


During the 2023 reporting period, air temperatures were above normal and precipitation was near to below normal for most of the basin. Dry conditions were prevalent in different areas of the basin through 2023, becoming widespread by the fall. These conditions contributed to wildfires in Ontario and Quebec, which drove record-low air quality throughout the basin in the summer months from drifting smoke. Amidst the dry conditions, there were small pockets of above-average precipitation in every season except the fall. Both wet and dry conditions contributed to above-average seasonal shifts in water levels on numerous lakes. At 21.6% areal coverage, Great Lakes maximum ice cover in 2023 was well below the long-term average.

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
Northeast Regional Climate Center
University of Illinois
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District


Myers, D. T., Ficklin, D. L., and Robeson, S. M. (2023). Hydrologic implications of projected changes in rain-on-snow melt for Great Lakes Basin watersheds, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 27, 1755–1770,

Embke, H.S., Nikiel, C.A., and Lyons, M.P. (2023). Potential effects of climate change on Acipenser fulvescens (lake sturgeon): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1104–E, 41 p.,

Kayastha, M. B., Huang, C., Wang, J., Pringle, W. J., Chakraborty, T. C., Yang, Z., Hetland, R., Qian, Y., *Xue, P. (2023). Insights on simulating summer warming of the Great Lakes: Understanding the behavior of a newly developed coupled lake-atmosphere modeling system. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 15, e2023MS003620.

Cherkauer, K.A., Barr, R., Bowling, L., Byun, K., Chaubey, I., Chin, N., Chiu, C., Ficklin, D., Hamlet, A., Kines, S., Lee, C., Neupane, R., Pignotti, G., Rahman, S., Singh, S., Valappoil, F.P., Williamson, T., Widhalm, M., and J.S. Dukes. (2023). The future of Indiana’s water resources: A Report from the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment. Purdue Climate Change Research Center, Purdue University. West Lafayette, Indiana.

Jay, A.K., A.R. Crimmins, C.W. Avery, T.A. Dahl, R.S. Dodder, B.D. Hamlington, A. Lustig, K. Marvel, P.A. Méndez-Lazaro, M.S. Osler, A. Terando, E.S. Weeks, and A. Zycherman (2023). Ch. 1. Overview: Understanding risks, impacts, and responses. In: Fifth National Climate Assessment. Crimmins, A.R., C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock, Eds. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA.

Van Berkel, D., Thomas Estabrook, Nathan Fox, Rahul Agrawal Bejarano, Lisa Maillard, Devin Gill, Erica Akemi Goto, Maria Carmen Lemos. (2023). PPGISr: An R package for Public Participatory GIS, SoftwareX, Volume 22, 101389, SSN 2352-7110,

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus. 2023.

Stirling, K. M., Kaitlin Almack, Nicholas Boucher, Alexander Duncan, Andrew M. Muir, Jared W.H. Connoy, Valoree S. Gagnon, Ryan J. Lauzon, Kate J. Mussett, Charity Nonkes, Natalija Vojno, Andrea J. Reid. (2023). Experiences and insights on Bridging Knowledge Systems between Indigenous and non-Indigenous partners: Learnings from the Laurentian Great Lakes, Journal of Great Lakes Research, Volume 49, Supplement 1, Pages S58-S71, ISSN 0380-1330,

Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership. 2023. Midwest Climate Resilience Conference.