Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Climate change affecting Great Lakes now, U-M ecologist tells Congress

A U-M scientist told a congressional panel Tuesday that climate change is affecting the Great Lakes region now, more so than other areas of the country.

In testimony before the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, Knute Nadelhoffer, professor of ecology and environmental biology, said greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels are changing the region’s weather and ecosystem.


Nadelhoffer, who also is director of the university’s Biological Station near Pellston, said temperatures have risen 4 degrees Fahrenheit in the northern part of the Great Lakes and 1 degree in the southern region over the past 50 years.

“Lake Superior is warming at an alarming rate,” said Nadelhoffer.

He told the committee this will affect fish populations and will lead to invasive species and pests spreading northward into the Great Lakes area. He also raised concerns about the impact on agriculture.

Nadelhoffer urged Congress to support “sound legislation” to limit greenhouse gases. He also provided a letter signed by more than 150 scientists from across the state urging Congress to allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The subcommittee will be voting on proposed legislation later this week that would prohibit EPA from taking such action.