Climate Change

  • Article

    The is no question that a general environmental warming will have significant impact on the Northwoods, as it will everywhere. This is not the forum to debate our climatic future, nor the extent to which that future is shaped by the actions of humans; rather, it is assumed that we are entering into a period of warming, possibly if not probably a significant one.

    Since recreation is key to the Northwoods economy, climate change could have significant economic as well as ecological impact. Warmer winters could easily make the snowmobile season to short to be economically viable, or could eliminate it altogether. Warmer summers might make vacationing in the Northwoods less pleasant, but warming throughout the entire region should leave the Northwoods cooler than most of the United States. And the lakes would remain an incredible asset regardless of warming.

    Brian Fagan, in his book The Great Warming using the warm period of approximately 800 to 1300 A.D., generally referred to by climatologists as "the great warming", as a basis for looking at climate impacts on civilizations. His conclusion is that they are often significant. He also points out that for much of the world, the great warming really meant the great drought. While it brought some salutary effects to Europe (think of the period of the construction of the great cathedrals and the emergence from the dark ages), for much of the world the effect of warming was significant drought. Nothing from that period really enlightens the possible effect of warming on the Northwoods.

    Charles P. Forbes
    April 13, 2009
  • Bibliography

    Major References

    ****. Tribes in the Northwoods Are Leading the Way on Climate Change. [Yale Climate Connections webside, June 8, 2020] New Haven, 2020. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Fagan, Brian. Great Warming. New York, 2008. View Full Entry
    Hillstrom, Mike. Wettest year ever in Wisconsin. [Wisconsin DNR Forestry News, Forest Health Newsletter, August, 2017 (web edition)] Madison, 2017. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Holtz, Jeremy. Small Changes Create Big Changes for Forest Plants and Wildlife. [NAHL State Forest Visitor's Guide 2013, p. 9.] Minocqua, 2013. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Kahl, et al.. Updating Northeast Minnesota’s Forest Management Strategies. [Climate Change Adaptation Case Study Series] Lansing, Michigan, 2011. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Leatherman, Courtney. Climate for Fire. [Nature Conservancy Magazine, Autumn, 2009, p. 11.] Arlington, VA, 2009. View Full Entry
    Lehr, Randy. Preparing for a Wetter Future in the Great Lakes Region. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (online) July 24, 2016] Milwaukee, 2016. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Magnuson, John. Climate Change and Waters of Wisconsin. [Northbound, Vol. 27, #4, Winter 2008, P. 5.] Eagle River, 2008. View Full Entry
    Mattes, Bill. Indicators Show Gichigami Warming. [Mazina'igan, A Chronicle of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, Spring 2009, p. 5.] Odanah, 2000. View Full Entry
    Pomplun, et al.. Getting Ahead of a Changing Climate. [Wisconsin Natural Resources, 35:1, February 2011, pp. 20-5.] Madison, 2011. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Pomplun, et al.. Prepared to Adapt. [Wisconsin Natural Resources, Vol. 34, #2, pp. 3-9., Feb, 2010.] Madison, 2010. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Rothschild, Matthew, ed.. Democracy in Print. Madison, 2009. View Full Entry
    Vanator and Chirboga. Update on Climate Change in the Ceded Territories. [Mazina'igan, A Chronicle of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, Spring/Summer 2014, pp. 12-13 ff.] Odanah, 2014. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    WICCI. Wisconsin Changing Climate: Impacts and Adaptations. Madison, 2011. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Wisconsin, Univ of, Mad: Ctr for Biology Educ, Dept of Forest Ecology & Mgmt, Ctr for Limnology--Trout Lk Fld Stn, Ctr for Cont Studies & the Arts; & by the N Lakeland Discovery Ctr, Manitowish Waters. Paradise Lost? Climate Change in the Northwoods. Madison, 2007. View Full Entry (Full text available)

    Minor References

    ****. Northland Students Study Effects of Climate Change on Local Lakes and Loons. [Tremolo, Winter 2009, p. 5,] Ashland, 2009. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Gaumnitz, Lisa. Sustaining a Fishery or Fighting Natural Change?. [Wisconsin Natural Resources, Vol. 34, #3, pp. 4-9, June, 2010.] Madison, 2010. View Full Entry (Full text available)
    Neusius and Gross. Seeking Our Past. [Textbook and Student CD] New York, 2007. View Full Entry
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    WICCI was established in the fall of 2007 as a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Prior to WICCI's formation, both entities had independently begun to examine the issue of climate change impacts. The Nelson Institute effort began in response to questions from state legislators who wanted to understand how climate change could affect their constituents. The WDNR effort was in response to agency staff concerns about how climate change would impact the state's natural resources for which the agency had stewardship and management responsibilities. A joint meeting of 40 UW-Madison and agency scientists in early summer 2007 became the springboard for joining forces and launching a statewide effort. Following that meeting, a small, ad-hoc group of scientists from both entities developed the structure of WICCI--an organization that quickly grew to include representatives from other state and federal agencies, several UW System schools, tribal organizations, businesses and non-profit groups.