Water Quality and Quantity

70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, with more than 95% of that water contained in the world’s oceans. This leaves less than 30% of land surface available for living and less than 5% of the world’s water supply available as drinking water. And the predicted effects of climate change could reduce these numbers even further. Warming temperatures cause glaciers, our major reserve of freshwater, to melt into the oceans and evaporate water reserves in dry countries faster than they can be refilled by rain. Rising sea levels flood small island nations and threaten low-lying US states like Florida and Louisiana. And increased rainfall right here in the Great Lakes region can flood sewer systems and cause contamination of lakes, streams and other supplies of drinking water, which can lead to harmful algal blooms and water-borne illnesses.

Water Quality

Researchers at Ohio State University and other institutions are studying the various impacts climate change has on water quality and water supply in the Great Lakes region and beyond, and they are making some amazing discoveries along the way. This area of ChangingClimate.osu.edu aims to introduce the public to their findings, provide information about upcoming public events where researchers speak about their results, and offer additional resources to those wanting to learn more about how climate change affects water quality and water supply in the Great Lakes region and beyond.


The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI)

Information on Wisconsin’s Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, including information on how communities can manage and adapt to the impacts of a changing global climate. The site also provides contact information for working group members who could be of assistance for those wanting to create or join working groups in other Great Lakes states.

WICCI Climate Working Group Report

An expansive report on Wisconsin’s climate, focusing especially on temperature and precipitation changes in the state. The report also includes an explanation of methodologies for creating the climate models used in predicting future climate change impacts.

Download this resource.

Will U.S. Agriculture Really Benefit from Global Warming?

Evidence presented in this article suggests that the economic effects of climate change on agriculture need to be assessed differently in dryland and irrigated areas. The use of this method finds that climate change will cause the United States an annual crop loss of $5 to $5.3 billion, especially in irrigated areas. If the rising temperatures of climate change are not coupled with increased rainfall, irrigation will have to be increased to maintain an adequate environment for crop plants. Potential water shortages in areas with little rainfall could create a need for expensive irrigation systems, including water storage and conveyance facilities, as well as a need for increased water conservation in other areas of life

Download this resource.


Water Presentations

  • 2010-11-02
    Dr. Brent Sohngen

    Ohio State University
    Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Great Lakes Farms and Forests. Read more.

  • 2010-12-07
    Dr. Anthony D. Kendall

    Michigan State University
    Climate Change, Biofuels, and Land Use Legacy Read more.