Climate change in Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay: An integrated assessment
David Hyndman, Michigan State University
Great Lakes coastal communities are already experiencing the effects of climate change and climate variability. In places like Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, land use, an influx of population, and increased development have also impacted the coastal waters and the watershed.
Together, climate and land use changes have altered the amount of water, sediment, nutrients, toxins, and pathogens entering streams and coastal waters. Forecasts predict that changes in temperature and precipitation patterns are likely to intensify. These anticipated changes have the potential to threaten the ecology and economy of the Grand Traverse Bay region.
Assessing the effects of climate-change-induced extreme events on water quality and ecology in the Great Lakes
Anna Michalak, Carnegie Institution for Science
Co-PIs: Allison Steiner, University of Michigan
Donald Scavia, University of Michigan
Michael Moore, University of Michigan
A collaborative team, supported by the National Science Foundation, evaluated the lake-land-air feedbacks associated with climate and extreme weather events on Great Lakes communities, industries, and ecosystems. The project sought to answer the questions: “What are the possible effects of climate-change-induced extreme events on water quality and ecology in the Great Lakes system, and what management strategies will be effective in addressing these changes?” The project team developed an interactive timeline of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, a set of curriculum materials about climate change and Great Lakes water quality, and various peer-reviewed publications. Find these resources below:
- Harmful algal blooms timeline
- Curriculum materials
- Record-breaking Lake Erie hypoxia caused by 2012 drought
Zhou, Y. T., A. M. Michalak, D. Beletsky, Y. R. Rao, R. P. Richards (2015).Environmental Science & Technology. 49 (2), 800.
- Long-term and seasonal trend decomposition of Maumee River nutrient inputs to western Lake Erie
Stow, C. A., Y. Cha, L. T. Johnson, R. Confesor, R.P. Richards (2014).Environmental Science & Technology.
- Ecological risk assessment of atrazine in North American surface waters
Solomon, K. R., J. P. Giesy, T. W. LaPoint, J. M. Giddings, R. P. Richards (2013). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 32 (1), 10.
- Assessing and addressing the re-eutrophication of Lake Erie: Central Basin Hypoxia
Scavia, D., J. D. Allan, K. K. Arend, S. Bartell, D. Beletsky, N. S. Bosch, S. B. Brandt, R. D. Briland, I. Daloğlu, J. V. DePinto, D. M. Dolan, M. A. Evans, T. M. Farmer, D. Goto, H. Han, T. O. Höök, R. Knight, S. A. Ludsin, D. Mason, A. M. Michalak, R. P. Richards, J. J. Roberts, D. K. Rucinski, E. Rutherford, D. J. Schwab, T. Sesterhenn, H. Zhang, Y. Zhou (2014). Journal of Great Lakes Research. 40 (2), 226.
- Joining Scientists and Stakeholders in Regional Earth System Modeling
Rosenzweig, B., C. Vorosmarty, W. Gutowski, A. L. Steiner (2014). Eos. 95 (27), 247.
- Joint bias correction of temperature and precipitation in climate model simulations
Li, C., E. Sinha, D. E. Horton, N. S. Diffenbaugh, A. M. Michalak (2014). Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres. 119 (23), 13153.
- Challenges in tracking harmful algal blooms: A synthesis of evidence from Lake Erie
Ho, J. C., A. M. Michalak (2015). Journal of Great Lakes Research.
- A comprehensive approach to evaluating watershed models for predicting river flow regimes critical to downstream ecosystem services
Gebremariam, S. Y., J. F. Martin, C. DeMarchi, N. S. Bosch, R. Confesor, S. A. Ludsin (2014).Environmental Modelling & Software. 61 121.
- Connecting the blooms: Tracking of the unprecedented Microcystis bloom of 2011 across Lake Erie using DGGE
Chaffin, J. D., W. V. Sigler, T. B. Bridgeman (2014). Aquatic Microbial Ecology. 73 29.
- Organic and inorganic nitrogen utilization by nitrogen-stressed cyanobacteria during bloom conditions
Chaffin, J. D., T. B. Bridgeman (2014). Journal of Applied Phycology. 26 (1), 299
- Regional modeling of surface-atmosphere interactions and their impact on Great Lakes hydroclimate
Bryan, A. M., A. L. Steiner, D. J. Posselt (2015). Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.
- Interacting effects of climate change and agricultural BMPs on nutrient runoff entering Lake Erie
Bosch, N. S., M. A. Evans, D. Scavia, J. D. Allan (2014). Journal of Great Lakes Research. 40 (3), 581.
- Record-setting Algal Bloom in Lake Erie Caused by Agricultural and Meteorological Trends Consistent with Expected Future Conditions
Michalak, A.M., E.J. Anderson, D. Beletsky, et al. (2013). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110:16, 6448-6452, 10.1073/pnas.1216006110
- Methodological Approaches to Projecting the Hydrologic Impacts of Climate Change
Lofgren, B.M., A.D. Gronewald, A. Acciaioli, J. Cherry, A. Steiner, D. Watkins. (2013). Earth Interactions, 17, 22, 1-19
- Sensitivity of Lake-Effect Snowfall to Lake Ice Cover and Temperature in the Great Lakes Region
Wright, D.M., D. J. Posselt, and A. L. Steiner (2013). Monthly Weather Review, 141, 670-689
- Discussion – Nutrient Inputs to the Laurentian Great Lakes by Source and Watershed Estimated Using SPARROW Watershed Models.
Richards, R.P., I. Alameddine, J.D. Allan, D.B. Baker, N.S. Bosch, R. Confesor, J.V. DePinto, D.M. Dolan, J.M. Reutter, and D.Scavia (2012). DOI: 10.1111 ⁄ jawr.12006
- Modeling Summer Circulation and Thermal Structure in Lake Erie
Beletsky, D., N. Hawley, Y.R. Rao (2013). J. Geophys. Res. 118, DOI: 10:1002/jgrc.20419
- Nitrogen Constrains the Growth of Late Summer Cyanobacterial Blooms in Lake Erie
Chaffin, J.D., T.B. Bridgeman, D.L. Bade (2013). Advances in Microbiology, 3, 16-26, DOI:10.4236/aim.2013.36A003
- Organic and Inorganic Nitrogen Utilization by Nitrogen-stressed Cyanobacteria during Bloom Conditions
Chaffin, J.D., T.B. Bridgeman (2014). Journal of Applied Phycology, 26, 299-309, 10.1007/s10811-013-0118-0
- A Novel Method for Tracking Western Lake Erie Microcystis Blooms, 2002-2011
Bridgeman, T.B., J.D. Chaffin, J.E. Filbrun (2013). Journal of Great Lakes Research, 39: 83-89, DOI:10.1016/j.jglr.2012.11.004
- Water, Climate, Energy, Food: Inseparable & Indispensable
Field, C.B., A.M. Michalak (2015). Daedalus Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, special issue “On Water”.
- Landsat based retrospective analysis of phytoplankton blooms in Lake Erie
Ho, J.H., A.M. Michalak, R.P. Stumpf, T.B. Bridgeman (), 19842011.
- Engaging Stakeholders to Define Feasible and Desirable Agricultural Conservation in Western Lake Erie Watersheds
Kalcic, M., Kirchhoff, C., Bosch, N., Muenich, R., Murray, M., Gardner, J., Scavia, D. (2016). Environmental Science and Technology.
- Widespread persistent changes to temperature extremes occurring earlier than predicted
Li, C., Y. Fang, K. Caldeira, X. Zhang, N.S. Diffenbaugh, A.M. Michalak (2016). Environmental Research Letters.
- Study role of climate change in extreme threats to water quality
Michalak, A.M. (2016). Nature.
- Water, Climate, Energy, Food: Inseparable & Indispensable
Michalak, A.M., C.B. Field (2015). Introduction. Daedalus Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Summer 2015: On Water.
- Testing longterm agricultural nutrient management scenarios for the Maumee River Watershed
Muenich RL, Kalcic MM, Scavia D. (2016). Environmental Science & Technology.
- Evaluating the Impact of Legacy P and Agricultural Conservation Practices on Nutrient Loads from the Maumee River Watershed
Muenich R.L., M.M. Kalcic, D. Scavia (2016). Environmental Science & Technology.
- Multiple models guide strategies for agricultural nutrient reductions
Scavia D, Kalcic MM, Muenich RL, Read J, Aloysius N, Boles C, Confesor R, DePinto J, Gildow M, Martin J, Redder T, Sowa S, Yen H. (2016). Environmental Science & Technology.
- Precipitation dominates interannual variability of riverine nitrogen loading across the continental United States
Sinha, E., A.M. Michalak (). Environmental Science and Technology.
- Global solutions to regional problems: Collecting global expertise to address the problem of harmful cyanobacterial blooms
Bullerjahn, G.S., R.M. McKay, T.W. Davis, D.B. Baker, G.L. Boyer, L.V. D’Anglada, G.J. Doucette, J.C. Ho, E.G. Irwin, C.L. Kling, R.M. Kudela, R. Kurmayer, A.M. Michalak, J.D. Ortiz, T.G. Otten, H.W. Paerl, B. Qin, B.L. Sohngen, R.P. Stumpf, P.M. Visser, S.W. Wilhelms (2016). A Lake Erie case study. Harmful Algae. 54 223.
- Role of Precipitation in Interannual Variation of Nitrogen Loading in Streams in the Continental U.S.
Sinha, E., A.M. MIchalak (2015). 2015 AGU Fall Meeting. San Francisco, CA.
- Lake Surface Temperature Influence on Atmospheric Circulation and Precipitation Processes in the Great Lakes Region
Wright, D.M., D. J. Posselt (2015). 2015 AGU Fall Meeting. San Francisco, CA.
- Landsat-derived 28-year history of phytoplankton blooms in Western Lake Erie
Ho, J.C., A.M. Michalak, and R.P. Stumpf (2016). 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting. New Orleans, LA.
- Predicting Nitrogen Loading in Streams Under Climate Change Scenarios in the Continental United States
Sinha, E., A. M. Michalak (2014). American Geophysical Fall Meeting. San Francisco, CA.
Helping coastal communities evaluate wind energy options
Soji Adelaja, Michigan State University
Michigan is recognized as a state with strong wind energy development potential. As a result, coastal communities are likely to face pressure to develop wind farms. Currently, there is limited information about how coastal wind turbines might impact communities, businesses, and the environment. This project aims to help communities understand the potential impacts of wind development.
Project summary (PDF)
West Michigan wind assessment
Erik Nordman, Grand Valley State University
Wind power has the potential to reduce Michigan’s reliance on fossil fuels and help meet state-mandated renewable energy targets. However, all forms of electricity generation have some impact. The intent of this project is to comprehensively analyze the benefits and challenges of wind energy development in one particular region of coastal West Michigan, including Oceana, Muskegon, Ottawa, and Allegan counties.
Project overview (PDF)
Final report (PDF)
Other project publications (all PDF files):
- An Introduction to Wind Energy
- Wind Energy Glossary
- Status and Trends of Wind Energy
- Global Lessons for West Michigan
- Flicker, Noise, and Air Quality
- Potential Economic Development for West Michigan
- Production Costs and Additional Impacts
- Wind Power and Potential Air Quality Benefits
- Wind Power and Impacts for the Electric Grid
- Wind Farms and Navigation: Potential Impacts for Radar, Air Traffic, and Marine Navigation
- Land-based Wind Development and the Environment
- Citizen Views of Offshore Wind
- Economic Costs and Benefits
- Implications for the Great Lakes Environment
- Public Perspectives and Policy Considerations for Offshore Wind
- Impacts on Birds, Fish, and the Coastal Environment
- Overview of Project and Survey Methods
- Community Views
- Energy Policy Priorities
- Regulation Issues
- Trust and Fairness Issues
- Impact Perceptions
Ecosystem mosaics and the Lake Michigan doughnut: Modeling pattern and process using remotely sensed imagery
W. Charles Kerfoot, Michigan Technological University
Full title: Ecosystem Mosaics and the Lake Michigan “Doughnut”: Modeling Pattern and Process Using Remotely Sensed Imagery
Researchers have been studying microscopic algae, or plankton, in Lake Michigan using sampling cruises and images from satellites. During late winter, they have been observing high levels of plankton in a circular, doughnut-like pattern in the deep waters of Lake Michigan. The research may help explain how certain zooplankton species characteristic of the Great Lakes are able to over-winter through what was previously perceived to be a very unproductive and resource-stressed period. However, increased productivity, greater abundance of large diatoms and increased larger zooplankton (which are all characteristic of the “doughnut”) have been predicted as key indicators of global change for the Great Lakes. If the doughnut phenomenon is a consequence of climate change, then it could indicate that later season storms will be pulling nutrients and sediment that previously fueled the near-shore spring bloom into a late winter, mid-lake bloom for which native species are not adapted. However, invasive species such as quagga mussels seem to be particularly well suited to take advantage of this phenomenon.
Ecosystem mosaics: Modeling pattern and process using remotely sensed imagery
Judith Wells Budd and W. Charles Kerfoot, Michigan Technological University
This project used satellite imagery to develop monthly maps showing chlorophyll, sediments, and lake surface temperatures of Lake Superior. Researchers used these maps to describe the warming and cooling cycles of the lake and to identify unusual water movement patterns. For example, they found that a warm current of water originates at the mouth of the Ontonagon River and moves in a northeasterly direction, creating an eddy off the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. This plume of water has more sediment and chlorophyll than the surrounding water, influencing the food web and potentially attracting fish. This study has produced a detailed understanding of Lake Superior’s annual cycles, allowing scientists to detect potential future changes that might result from climate or land use changes.
The relationship between Great Lakes water levels, wave energies, and shoreline damage
Guy Meadows, University of Michigan
Storm damage along Great Lakes coastlines is a serious concern during periods of rising and high lake levels as seen in the early 1970s and mid-1980s. Researchers explored the link between periods of high water in the Great Lakes and coastal storm damage. Building on earlier work, researchers assembled and analyzed data on climate, water, and wave conditions, drawing upon an additional decade of data collected from the National Data Buoy Center wave measurement program. Researchers also investigated the significance of a shift in wave pattern on the impact of large harbor structures in Lake Michigan. Evaluation of water level and wave set-up at two sites has shown a significant correlation to erosion events. The results of this study have enhanced understanding of how lake levels and waves combine to impact our coastlines, providing management tools for coastal resource policy. Results have been incorporated into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Michigan Potential Damages Study and used by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Shorelands Management Division to help manage coastal resources.