The Great Lakes impact local and regional weather and climate in the region. However, processes responsible for producing lake effect and lake-induced modifications of weather are often poorly represented or missing from climate models. For example, many climate models represent the Great Lakes as a wet soil land type as opposed to large, dynamic, bodies of water. As a result, many of the widely used sets of climate model projections, such as CMI. Existing models use general climate circulation data to project future climate in a specific area. These models simulate a vastly different system than in the Great Lakes region. As a result, we lack valuable information to assist decision makers planning for the future.
In response to this gap between end user needs and the limitations of model-based data and information, GLISA is assembling a team of regional climate modeling experts, extension specialists, and local practitioners. This team will develop a Great Lakes ensemble comprised of multiple models. Project goals:
- Develop an evaluation framework. Apply this to several climate model data sets—including regional modeling efforts. This will provide a regional perspective on the quality of information coming from climate models.
- Apply a standardization framework to data sets. The ensemble will have a standard format to data sets, to assist with data analysis.
- Produce a suite of practitioner-based climate adaptation indices. Examples include information about heat, wet/dry days, extreme storm intensity. The indices will be available in several formats (e.g., raw data, maps, tables, and plots) for use in climate adaptation planning.
- Couple information from the ensemble about the future to GLISA’s widely used historical climatologies. Leveraging the new ensemble and existing GLISA climatologies will provide a comprehensive past-present-future analysis at the multi-county level scale (see glisa.umich.edu/climate-divisions)
An expert group of scientific advisors have already helped shape the initial direction of this project through a meeting convened by GLISA. Initial efforts are focused on identifying what defines the highest quality models for the Great Lakes region to inform the development of a framework. Individuals and groups in the U.S. and Canada are engaged in this effort. The new Ensemble is intended to serve the entire Great Lakes basin and beyond.
Learn more: Great Lakes Climate Ensemble