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Web-based tool predicts how climate change will affect your city

Dec 23, 2014

Our climate is already changing in the Great Lakes region. And people who manage our cities are finding ways to adapt.

“We’re seeing changes in our precipitation patterns; we’re seeing more extreme precipitation events, " says Beth Gibbons, the director of the University of Michigan’s Climate Center. Her group has released a new online tool for cities in the region. 

The Cities Impact and Adaptation Tool shows you how the average temperature and precipitation is expected to change for your city. And it shows you what has already changed over the past 60 years.

Peer comparisons and better city planning

You can also see what Gibbons calls “climate peers.” These are regions in other parts of the country that are having the climate your city is expected to have 50 years from now.

“For the city of Ann Arbor, we're looking at having, during the summer, in temperature only, looking more like northern Missouri, mid-Illinois, even potentially eastern Tennessee, into western Virginia."

She says managers can learn from those climate peers. And they can also search from more than 500 adaptation strategies. They’re based on things cities are already doing.

“If you say you’re concerned about the increase in precipitation, well, the impact of that might be more storm water. This tool will contain an adaptation strategy of increasing your tree canopy and it’ll come directly from a municipal plan where this is already being implemented.”

Gibbons says it’s a way to show city managers they can adapt to climate change using resources they already have.