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Proposal for Accelerating Use of Climate Information in Planning / National Park Service / Great Lakes Region

TitleProposal for Accelerating Use of Climate Information in Planning / National Park Service / Great Lakes Region
Publication TypeManual Entry
AuthorsRood, R. B., Laura J. Briley, and MC Lemos

Climate observations for the Great Lakes show that the region has warmed and the region is projected to continue to warm in the coming decades.  The warming is not uniform, for example, we have had extreme warm spells in the winter and spring that promote early budding, followed by devastating frost[i]. Temperature information is the simplest measure of climate change and it is dauntingly complex. Temperature, however, is not the only or most important parameter of interest to planners and managers.  Generally, the availability and flow of fresh water is important, and therefore, temperature and precipitation become conflated with each other.  In the Great Lakes region, two important, complex, accumulated measures of climate are lake levels and ice cover. 

            In the best of circumstances measures such as lake level and ice cover are complex combinations of temperature, precipitation, cloudiness, wind speed, stream flow and lake circulation. Considering model projections of climate change, the local weather and climate impacts of the lakes are not at the most basic level represented in climate models.   Therefore, usable climate-change information is not simply read off of data tables and maps; there is the need for making the climate projections locally relevant. Lake levels and ice cover projections require interpretation of knowledge from many diverse sources. To be relevant to decision makers, this interpretation needs to be in the context of the specific application of the decision maker.

            We build from our work of developing an adaptation plan for Isle Royale National Park, with an initial focus on extension to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. In this project we used the National Park Service’s (NPS) participatory scenario-planning process[ii], which is highly evolved and uses current climate-change projections to develop possible climate and ecological futures. We also used our prototype problem-solving environment,[iii]. We aim to improve our structure for climate-change problem solving and to develop a formal interface with the NPS scenario-planning process. We focus on reuse of both resources and expertise to accelerate the incorporation of climate-change knowledge into adaptation planning.




  1. Sustained assessment of knowledge of changes in weather and climate tailored for Lake Superior
  2. Documented portfolio of climate-sensitive management priorities for Isle Royale National Park and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
  3. Templates and online tools to support the usability of climate change knowledge in park management
  4. Strategies to address barriers of sustainability and usability of online tools


Citation Key1856


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