Climate Change in Michigan has been a point of concern for a long time because of all the adversity it brings. The impact is already here and is being measured. There are far too many places in the world that have been affected by climate change, and Michigan is no different. The so-called Mitten State has had to face plenty of hardships thanks to the changes in climate. The impact is already triggering action from the state such as higher production new targets for renewable energy to local governments having to dredge marinas and even raise buildings due to high lake levels.
The Transformation of Michigan’s Climate
Like many other parts of the world, Michigan has also undergone and is currently experiencing a very profound transformation of its climate. For many of the effects of these changes, you can look at any climate change essays on PapersOwl because many of them are pretty global. However, several potential environmental problems are looming over the horizon when it comes to Michigan.
Let’s look at some of the biggest worries as uncovered by climate assessment studies.
#1 Water Quality issues Due To Increased Algae Blooms
One major problem that can arise as it did in Lake Erie of Ohio in 2014 is that of more algae blooms in the Great Lakes region. Other than reducing the amount of ice in winters, higher temperatures in the area mean that more harmful algae can grow in the waters. These invasive species can contaminate the drinking water supply, leading to health issues.
Not only that, but species like blue-green algae also absorb sunlight, making the water even warmer. And this warmer water leads to more growth of algae. This is one of the biggest threats that climate change is posing.
#2 More Precipitation
Michigan is seeing increasing precipitation, which poses serious problems. In the last 30 years, some areas have seen 20% more rain and snow. And that’s not all: it also means that agricultural areas can be too wet during the crop planting season. The chances of flooding also increase, especially in Detroit, where the stormwater infrastructure is not designed well enough to handle high precipitation.
The lakes have seen varying average depth over time. They were very low between 1999 and 2014 but had been growing since then. Those living near them have been severely affected by floods and erosion. But that’s not all. The lakes are so big that they affect the weather on a regional level. As their conditions change, they affect noticeable change around them too. Due to that, many rural and urban areas have seen more and more average temperature values and rain. So, flooding is not the only concern from climate change in Michigan.
#3 Increased Heating Days
In most climate assessment reports, extreme heat is one of the most significant issues due to climate change. In Michigan, the state has seen a heat increase between 2 and 3 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century. This has led to hotter summer temperatures. Heatwaves that can occur due to extreme weather can often be deadly. Increased temperatures also lead to more air pollution and promote the spread of diseases like Lyme Disease.
On top of affecting the Great Lake levels, hotter temperatures also negatively impact fish populations and the places in which native plants and crops can grow.
#4 Threat to Agraculture and Family Farms
As mentioned already, worsening temperatures that lead to more precipitation and rainfall are causing crops to get damaged. According to the National Climate Assessment report, warming will likely cause more pests to be bred and more soil erosion as well. There are a number of negative impacts these things have on agriculture, specifically on soybean and corn crops.
#5 Damage to Business Infrasturucture
Heat waves, heavy rain, and an increase in water levels of the Great Lakes, all lead to negative economic impacts too because of physical damage to marinas, ports, and shorelines. While it is easy to notice damage to crops and buildings when it floods, there are other kinds of damage that require money to fix. For example, more warming damages pavements, railroad tracks and expansion joints in bridges, etc. As per a report by the EPA, climate change in Michigan will end up making the state spend around $6 billion a year by the year 2090.
#6 Threat to Forests
Flooding affects not only homes but also trees. That is just one way in which climate change is threatening the forests of Michigan. The Midwest’s forests that span some 91 million acres add a significant $122 billion to the economy. They are also a crucial resource for tribes as well as hunters.
However, because of climate change, it is expected that younger trees will be killed more often. One reason for this is more frequent droughts, and another is warmer winter seasons that lead to a reduction of snowpack that helps insulate the soil. Without this insulation, tree roots will suffer more and more frost damage. This is a big issue in Michigan as forests cover over half of the land in Michigan according to a report by the US Forest Service.
What Can Be Done to Mitigate Climate Change in Michigan?
According to Michelle Martinez of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, there’s a lot to be done in order to help ensure the health and safety of the communities living in the area. She thinks that spending billions of dollars on underground storage pipelines and carbon capture is not going to help but may rather worsen the situation. Instead, there is a need for incorporating and utilizing renewable energy. The houses in the affected areas need to be renovated and building codes need to be adhered to. Access to solar energy and the inclusion of rooftop solar cells needs to be provided to public buildings. And affordable housing also needs to be prioritized.
All of this is what can help fight the worrying climate change in this part of the country and places like the Graham Sustainability Institute and every other relevant organization need to work together to make this happen.
Final Thoughts on Climate Change Effects in Michigan
There is no denying that climate change in Michigan is going downhill pretty fast. Michigan residents have already expressed who should tackle this issue. It has already caused devastation not only to the humans living here but also to animals, plants, and the business environment. Rising waters, polluted air, and eroding soil are just some of the harmful effects we are seeing nowadays and if nothing is done, all of this will only get worse. It will take years to undo the damage that has been done, but the efforts in the right direction need to start now.