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finding 21.6 : key-message-21-6
At-risk communities in the Midwest are becoming more vulnerable to climate change impacts such as flooding, drought, and increases in urban heat islands (as likely as not, high confidence). Tribal nations are especially vulnerable because of their reliance on threatened natural resources for their cultural, subsistence, and economic needs (likely, medium confidence). Integrating climate adaptation into planning processes offers an opportunity to better manage climate risks now (medium confidence). Developing knowledge for decision-making in cooperation with vulnerable communities and tribal nations will help to build adaptive capacity and increase resilience (high confidence).
This finding is from chapter 21 of Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II.
Process for developing key messages:
The chapter lead authors were identified in October 2016, and the author team was recruited in October and November 2016. Authors were selected for their interest and expertise in areas critical to the Midwest with an eye on diversity in expertise, level of experience, and gender. The writing team engaged in conference calls starting in December 2016, and calls continued on a regular basis to discuss technical and logistical issues related to the chapter. The Midwest chapter hosted an engagement workshop on March 1, 2017, with the hub in Chicago and satellite meetings in Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The authors also considered other outreach with stakeholders, inputs provided in the public call for technical material, and incorporated the available recent scientific literature to write the chapter. Additional technical authors were added as needed to fill in the gaps in knowledge.
Discussion amongst the team members, along with reference to the Third National Climate Assessment and conversations with stakeholders, led to the development of six Key Messages based on key economic activities, ecology, human health, and the vulnerability of communities. In addition, care was taken to consider the concerns of tribal nations in the northern states of the Midwest. The Great Lakes were singled out as a special case study based on the feedback of the engagement workshop and the interests of other regional and sector chapters.
Note on regional modeling uncertainties
Interaction between the lakes and the atmosphere in the Great Lakes region (e.g., through ice cover, evaporation rates, moisture transport, and modified pressure gradients) is crucial to simulating the region’s future climate (i.e., changes in lake levels or regional precipitation patterns).fe83e7d3-3f29-4aef-81ae-28abd70dda2e,94a4d51e-96a4-4155-926d-31be60e2206a Globally recognized modeling efforts (i.e., the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, or CMIP) do not include a realistic representation of the Great Lakes, simulating the influence of the lakes poorly or not at all.9db319af-7cec-440e-8dda-41526fed6cd0,5295673e-703b-42f8-9792-4ccf8e3cf747,03f91fdd-6d7d-431b-997b-91f63f52fe45,ee7f8311-bd00-4353-87a9-61ffb7813bf0,1cd8ac44-e9d5-4a2e-ab8e-e48c8988bbc2 Ongoing work to provide evaluation, analysis, and guidance for the Great Lakes region includes comparing this regional model data to commonly used global climate model data (CMIP) that are the basis of many products practitioners currently use (i.e., NCA, IPCC, NOAA State Climate Summaries). To address these challenges, a community of regional modeling experts are working to configure and utilize more sophisticated climate models that more accurately represent the Great Lakes’ lake–land–atmosphere system to enhance the understanding of uncertainty to inform better regional decision-making capacity (see http://glisa.umich.edu/projects/great-lakes-ensemble for more information).
Description of evidence base:
Limited evidence in the scientific literature indicates that at-risk communities in the Midwest will be increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including increased flooding resulting from increased variation in precipitation patterns and changing lake levels,c9ef5059-729c-4701-ad9a-da15255bd5ca urban heat islands,34db2d46-ef90-43a4-99ab-40dae17afcce and an intensification of heat and drought (see also the impacts and associated references in the previous sections).b228ac0d-7bf9-4391-99e7-5c598b9ce55e
Several recent survey reports0b30f1ab-e4c4-4837-aa8b-0e19faccdb94,5b754441-464c-49fd-90e8-c184fc2ba1f5,4bc875f6-cbe6-4f26-a05b-e31593c1f8ef project negative climate impacts for tribal nations and Indigenous communities, especially as a result of an increased frequency of extreme precipitation events.5b754441-464c-49fd-90e8-c184fc2ba1f5 Tribal nations are especially vulnerable to climate impacts because of their reliance on natural resources, debdf209-4050-4706-965c-09cff7ec353b the isolation of rural communities, and potential shifts of species out of sovereign land.6848eec2-534b-4629-967c-53d8530089a3,5a014fc7-218e-4116-88e9-c47a65b48e8c Climate change thus poses a threat to tribal culture, sovereignty, health, and way of life.93a1158a-17b9-43b9-9743-111f9c7ab8ab
Gray literature,3c3cc09b-c2d7-4c52-bf8f-c064efa78e93 survey reports,b74c5cc9-2e40-4ad9-92aa-f2b02c7a4be7 and scientific literature660ac034-1441-4d28-98e2-61c8c252348a point to a few initiatives to integrate adaptation into municipal planning processes and utilize participatory methodologies to evaluate and manage climate risk.
A growing body of research indicates that interaction between producers of climate information, intermediaries, and end users plays a critical role in increasing climate knowledge integration and use for adaptation in the Midwest.7b490de7-7bcd-4e31-b512-9deaa3a5eba7,50781eea-2acc-4a9f-898d-e6c2b511aeb8,cc425aea-53c5-4bce-a66d-a62212048633,ee0b8d5b-e45d-4466-b677-ab31c217a6dc Limited evidence links the implementation of adaptation actions identified as a result of these collaborations to reduced sensitivity.7fb36681-5694-4e74-93ec-65a153a17572,2f60bab7-0e45-4743-b83c-5f93dd3c7dd3,e2515586-169f-4e99-8499-9887f7c5c977
New information and remaining uncertainties:
Limited research specific to the Midwest region contributes to uncertainty around the specific vulnerabilities of at-risk communities, including urban and rural communities and tribal nations. Though climate change planning and action in both Midwest cities and rural areas are underway, documentation remains low, few examples exist in the public literature of the failure or success of efforts to mainstream climate action into municipal governance, and attempts to assess vulnerabilities, especially in poor urban communities, frequently encounter climate justice barriers. Likewise, the number, scope, and nature of tribal adaptation plans remain undocumented, as does the degree of implementation of these plans and the manner in which Traditional Ecological Knowledge is incorporated.
Assessment of confidence based on evidence:
There is high confidence that communities in the Midwest will as likely as not be increasingly vulnerable to climate change impacts such as flooding, urban heat islands, and drought. Similarly, there is medium confidence that tribal nations in the Midwest are likely to be especially vulnerable because of their reliance on threatened natural resources for their cultural, subsistence, and economic needs. Due to limited documentation in the literature, there is medium confidence that integrating adaptation into planning processes will offer an opportunity to manage climate risk better. Finally, there is high confidence that developing knowledge for decision-making in cooperation with vulnerable communities and tribal nations will help to decrease sensitivity and build adaptive capacity.
ProvenanceThis finding was derived from scenario rcp_8_5
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