University will help Great Lakes cities adapt to climate change

Grand Rapids is the first confirmed city to participate in U of M’s new project to give cities local information regarding climate change. Photo: stevendepolo (Flickr)

City leaders are left to trudge through national and regional climate change data to find local relevance.

The University of Michigan is helping them with a new $1.2 million research project.  Dubbed the “Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities,” the project  teams researchers with city decision makers in five Great Lakes cities. They’ll provide the climate change science specifically for those communities.

The project addresses what researchers see as a dearth of localized climate change information about causes, impacts, and ways to lessen or adapt to them.

“While there is abundant research on climate change at national and global scales, there is a gap in regionally focused adaptation planning for effectively addressing this pressing issue,” said Arun Agrawal, a UM professor of natural resources and environment and co-principal investigator for the project.

The team will perform new research and use data from the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center, a collaboration between the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, and Michigan Sea Grant.  The center works to “translate national research to regional levels,” according to Thomas Dietz, an MSU professor and a co-principal investigator at the center.

Researchers will work with officials from five Great Lakes cities. Grand Rapids is the only one as yet confirmed.

The three-year project is led by the university’s Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute. The Kresge Foundation is providing a $600,000 grant with the rest coming from the university.

About Brian Bienkowski

Brian currently serves as a reporter for Great Lakes Echo. He's also a contributor to Mindful Metropolis magazine, the City Pulse and Michigan River News. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in business marketing in 2005 and will graduate with a master's degree in environmental journalism this May. Office: 517.432.5155 Twitter: @BrianBienkowski

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