The Lake Effect: Changing climate is changing our Great Lake

Oct 11, 2021

CLEVELAND— A few images come to mind when you think of climate change: crumbling ice caps, strong storms and wildfires raging out west. 


While these events are undeniable in their destructive power, climate change is a global problem and affects communities on a local level — the Midwest included. Here in Ohio, Lake Erie is a major area of concern.

According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment report from the National Climate Assessment first published in 2018, changes have been occurring across the Great Lakes.

The report notes the increase of lake-effect snow, and attributes it to warming in the Midwest. Should this trend continue, the report warns, “Reductions in lake ice may increase the frequency of lake-effect snows until winters become so warm that snowfall events shift to rain.”

“A warmer atmosphere holds more water,” said Peter Whiting, environmental scientist, professor and assistant dean at the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. 

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