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State climate expert says warmer, wetter conditions for the future 

  • A photo of Jeffrey Andresen, state climatologist for Michigan
  • Climate Change Education Solutions Summit
  • A photo of Jeffrey Andresen, state climatologist for Michigan

Posted on June 12, 2019

Michigan and the Great Lakes region will continue to see warmer and wetter climate patterns for the foreseeable future, said Jeffrey Andresen, state climatologist for Michigan. He said much of the additional precipitation will come during colder months.

Andresen was a keynote speaker at Grand Valley State University's Climate Change Education Solutions Summit that took place June 12 in the Kirkhof Center on the Allendale Campus. 

"Arguably the biggest challenges ahead for Michigan and the Midwest will be the frequency and magnitude of heavy rain events and flooding," said Andresen. 

He said Great Lakes levels have risen from record or near-record lows in 2013 to record-high levels. "Continued record-high water levels on the Great Lakes are expected for June, July and August," he said. "Over time, we will also see a huge increase in water temperatures on the Great Lakes, especially Lake Superior."

Andresen predicts Michigan will experience erratic precipitation in the future, and he said that isn't good.

"History suggests society may be able to adapt or cope with steady climate changes, but possibly not with changes in variability like storminess or extremes," he said.

The summit, sponsored by Grand Valley's Department of Geography and Sustainable Planning, drew more than 100 area K-12 educators and university faculty and scientists who shared information about climate change education and perspectives on curriculum.

Other keynote speakers included Sarah Duffer, Earth and environmental science teacher in North Carolina, and Jessica Thompson, associate professor of communications at Northern Michigan University.

Duffer developed curriculum based on Paul Hawken's Project Drawdown, which offers solutions to stop global warming. Thompson's research focus is team communication on complex ecological issues.

For more information, visit gvsu.edu/cces or contact Elena Lioubimtseva, professor and chair of the Department of Geography and Sustainable Planning at Grand Valley, at lioubime@gvsu.edu.