The Great Lakes sensitivity to climate variation is like the “bird in the coal mine;” serving as an early indicator of potential environmental, social and economic issues that will become global problems in future years. There is a general consensus among scientists that understanding specific potential threats and opportunities due to climate variation, and planning adaptive strategies to these changes is essential. In addition, to create behavioral change, we need to communicate vulnerability and opportunity with a “value statement” that stakeholders understand and accept as a basis for specific action and investment.
Combining research and outreach helped us to
- Involve key stakeholders in identifying climate change scenarios and potential needs;
- Direct specific climate modeling to address stakeholder areas of concern;
- Develop a scalable economic evaluation tool for ports and harbors to understand potential threats and opportunities facing key infrastructure elements that support commerce and marine transportation;
- Help develop a strategic plan (logic models) for communicating regional climate change information;
- Develop specific case studies for Toledo, Ohio, and Duluth, Minnesota, that may be used to illuminate and communicate potential economic impact information on climate change;
- Develop centralized tools for climate change communication;
- Lay the groundwork for the development of visualization products that can be used to communicate climate change information.