Global warming won't have the same effect all over the state | Michigan Radio
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Global warming won't have the same effect all over the state

Aug 13, 2019

Annual mean temperature change, 1950-2012, in Michigan
Credit GLISA

Climate scientists say global warming will have different effects on different regions in Michigan, and some of those effects may seem counterintuitive.

For one thing, parts of Michigan you might not expect are warming at a faster pace than others.   

That includes Petoskey and Traverse City in the northwest, and Alpena in the northeast.

Richard Rood is a climate scientist at the University of Michigan. He says proximity to warming lakes can increase average temperatures quickly, and also cause more lake effect snow, because there's more water evaporating from the lakes.

"In Michigan, some of the biggest changes are, in fact, coming in the winter," says Rood.

But remember, northern Michigan started out colder than southern Michigan to begin with. So even though its average temperatures are increasing faster, it's still going to end up cooler on average than most of southern Michigan. 

For more information about global warming's effect on other areas of the country, see this article in The Washington Post, published on August 13, 2019.

Rood says it's important to remember that even though Michigan is going to warm up, and even though there will be dramatic and often negative impacts from that, southern states are going to get hit a lot harder by global warming, because their summers are already hot.

He thinks it's possible Michigan could see some population growth in the future, as people flee southern states where high temperatures in the summer could tip well beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit more days than not.

He says there could also be increased trade moving through Michigan, if the shipping industry is unable to use eastern seaboard ports due to rising ocean levels.

That could push some shipping trade north to Toronto, making border crossings like Detroit more important for moving goods from Canada into the States.