Climate and Health Adaptation Planning Guide for Michigan Communities

March 11th, 2021

The climate is changing in the Great Lakes Region (Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments [GLISA], n.d.). The average temperature, the frost-free season, total precipitation, and the number of heavy precipitation events all increased from 1951–2017, according to the most recent data available (Figure 1). Weather and climate have a variety of significant impacts on human health. For example, heavy rain events can lead to flooding, heat waves can lead to illness and death, and frost-free seasons influence pollen-producing plants and disease-carrying insect habitats (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014). Furthermore, climate change is a risk multiplier, meaning that changing seasonal patterns and more frequent and intense heat and precipitation events related to climate change can exacerbate the environmental, social, and economic stressors communities already face, while also presenting new threats in new areas (U.S. Global Change Research Program [USGCRP], 2016). The importance of planning now for the health impacts of climate change in our communities is clear.