LCC Joins Climate Change Planning Exercise

As our climate warms, Lake Champlain changes. Already we have seen a decrease in winter ice cover and an increase in precipitation throughout the Basin. Where once the lake froze over almost every year, it has now been five years since the last freeze over. We already receive an additional three inches of precipitation per year with greater increases anticipated. Increased storm frequency and intensity washes more pollution into the lake. Rain in winter causes even more erosion due to the absence of vegetation to slow run off.

LCC is actively working to help the region adapt to a changing climate and build greater resiliency for the future. Most recently, Staff Scientist Mike Winslow participated in a climate change scenario development workshop sponsored by the Research on Adaptation to Climate Change (RACC) program at the University of Vermont. Two overarching questions guide the RACC project. First, how will the interaction of climate change and land use alter water and nutrient pollution flows from the land to the lake and within the lake? For example, how will a decrease in winter snow cover affect nutrient loading? It could increase loading because there is less spring flooding, or decrease loading because there will be more rain on bare ground. Second, what are the implications of any changes for adaptive management strategies? LCC helped map out a series of scenarios that would illustrate anticipated impacts of climate change on our region.

This work will guide policy makers as they assess societal and environmental risks of climate change, and undertake regional adaptation strategies to improve resiliency. Click here if you’d like to make a donation to LCC’s climate change adaptation work.