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Projecting Changes in Snow, Lake Ice, and Winter Severity in the Great Lakes Region for Wildlife-Based Adaptation Planning

Development of Dynamically-Based 21st Century Projections of Snow, Lake Ice, and Winter Severity for the Great Lakes Basin to Guide Wildlife-Based Adaptation Planning, with Emphasis on Deer and Waterfowl
Principal Investigator
Michael Notaro

Dates

Start Date
2014-09-01
End Date
2017-08-31
Release Date
2014

Summary

Winter conditions have changed substantially in the Great Lakes region over the last 50 years, with the region experiencing rising temperatures, declining lake ice cover, and increased lake-effect snow. These changes have direct implications for economically important wildlife, such as deer and waterfowl. Deer hunting alone contributes $482 million annually to Wisconsin’s economy. The goal of this project is to identify how winter severity, snowpack, and lake ice could change through the mid- and late-21st century, and how species such as the white-tailed deer and mallard duck will respond. Because currently available climate data is at too coarse a scale to provide information on future conditions for the Great Lakes, researchers [...]

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Attached Files

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LakeSuperior_ice_MPD.jpg
“Lake Superior - public domain”
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Purpose

Our project focuses on anticipated effects of 21st century climate change on winter severity, snowpack, and lake ice across the Great Lakes Basin and the response of wildlife populations, namely white-tailed deer and dabbling ducks. Winter conditions have changed substantially since the mid-20th century, with rising temperatures, declining lake ice cover, and increased lake-effect snowfall. Nonetheless, due to coarse resolution, poor lake representation, and insufficient treatment of lake-effect processes in global climate models, basinwide climate change projections remain uncertain. Changing winter conditions may greatly alter wildlife behavior and survival rates. The primary wintertime stressors for deer are air chill and snow depth, with extreme winters triggering population declines. Snow/ice cover limit foraging by waterfowl, thereby regulating the timing/intensity of migration and their distributions during non-breeding season. Changes in wildlife abundance and distribution can incur dramatic ecological, societal, and economic impacts. Warming may support expanded deer populations and overgrazing, while elevating infectious disease threats to deer. Annually in the U.S., 13.4 million people participate in deer and migratory bird hunting, generating $21.5 billion in revenue, with the hunting industry supporting 681,000 jobs. Our projections of climate change impacts on the behavior and distribution of deer and ducks will guide conservation planning.

Project Extension

projectStatusCompleted
parts
typeGeneral Public Summary
valueOur project focuses on anticipated effects of 21st century climate change on winter severity, snowpack, and lake ice across the Great Lakes Basin and the response of wildlife populations, namely white-tailed deer and dabbling ducks. Winter conditions have changed substantially since the mid-20th century, with rising temperatures, declining lake ice cover, and increased lake-effect snowfall. Nonetheless, due coarse resolution, poor lake representation, and insufficient treatment of lake-effect processes in global climate models, basinwide climate change projections remain uncertain. Changing winter conditions may greatly alter wildlife behavior and survival rates. The primary wintertime stressors for deer are air chill and snow depth, with extreme winters triggering population declines. Snow/ice cover limit foraging by waterfowl, thereby regulating the timing/intensity of migration and their distributions during non-breeding season. Changes in wildlife abundance and distribution can incur dramatic ecological, societal, and economic impacts. Warming may support expanded deer populations and overgrazing, while elevating infectious disease threats to deer. Annually in the U.S., 13.4 million people participate in deer and migratory bird hunting, generating $21.5 billion in revenue, with the hunting industry supporting 681,000 jobs. Our projections of climate change impacts on the behavior and distribution of deer and ducks will guide conservation planning.
typeFY 14 Grant ($70,209.19)
valueG14AP00173

Budget Extension

totalFunds142033.06
annualBudgets
year2014
totalFunds70291.11
year2015
totalFunds71741.95

Additional Information

Identifiers

Type Scheme Key
RegistrationUUID NCCWSC 73bdb509-eef2-4a74-b28e-8ba3ad9bb058
StampID NCCWSC NE13-NM17977

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