Julie Winkler, professor of geography at Michigan State University (MSU), is the lead editor of a new technical book titled "Climate Change in the Midwest: A Synthesis Report for the National Climate Assessment."
August 18, 2014 - Holly Whetstone
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Julie Winkler, professor of geography at Michigan State University (MSU), is the lead editor of a new technical book titled “Climate Change in the Midwest: A Synthesis Report for the National Climate Assessment.”
The report, published in June by Island Press, also features contributions by several other MSU faculty members: Jeffrey Andresen from the Department of Geography; Janice Beecher, Institute of Public Utilities; and Sarah Nicholls, departments of Geography and Community Sustainability.
Prepared as an in-depth scholarly exploration for the U.S. National Climate Assessment, the book addresses the potential impacts of climate change on natural systems, human health and several important economic sectors in the Midwest.
“The diverse landscape of the U.S. Midwest and the natural processes, livelihoods and infrastructure associated with them are vulnerable to climate change,” Winkler said. “The challenge will be to design and implement creative and effective adaptation strategies to reduce the region’s vulnerability to climate change while capitalizing on potential co-benefits of mitigation policies.”
Coordinated by the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA) Center and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, the technical report adds more detail to the conclusions of the National Climate Assessment, which listed the following key message for the Midwest:
"Extreme heat, heavy downpours and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. Climate change will also exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes."
The peer-reviewed publication is intended to support education, including undergraduate and/or graduate teaching, and research conducted in the Midwest, and to help industry stakeholders make informed decisions on a variety of topics from energy regulation to managing water systems, Winkler said.
Some key findings of the report include:
Winkler became involved with the project primarily as a core team member of GLISA, one of 11 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-funded centers that aim to build capacity to manage risks from climate change and variability.
She has studied many aspects of geography and climatology, including regional climate change and climate scenario development and evaluation. Research topics include heavy precipitation, nocturnal thunderstorms, low-level wind maxima, airflow within mid-latitude cyclones, and the possible impacts of climate change, particularly on agriculture. Much of her work has been conducted in the Central Plains and Great Lakes regions of the United States.
In addition to serving as lead editor, Winkler co-wrote the chapter “Climate Projections for the Midwest;” Andresen co-wrote “Historical Climate and Climate Trends in the Midwestern United States;” Beecher co-wrote “Climate Change and Energy;” and Nicholls wrote “Outdoor Recreation and Tourism.” Andresen was also an editor on the project.
“The Midwest papers are excellent and give a solid sense of the climate state for our region,” said Thomas Dietz, MSU assistant vice president for environmental research. “This collaborative effort was led by GLISA, which is a partnership between MSU and the University of Michigan – all prominent climate entities in the region. It is a very useful collection of papers that should serve many different sectors very well throughout the century.”
This is Winkler’s first experience editing a book. She grew up on a farm in North Dakota, where she became fascinated with weather at a young age. She came to MSU in 1987 after receiving her Ph.D. in geography with a specialization in climatology.
The book is available free of charge at http://www.cakex.org/sites/default/files/documents/NCA_Midwest_Report.pdf
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