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Climate migrants could come to Great Lakes region as extreme weather grows in coming years

Map of Social and Natural Risk: Great Lakes Region
Van Berkel et al.
“Planning for climate migration in Great Lakes Legacy Cities,” Earth’s Future, October 2022
Map of Social and Natural Risk: Great Lakes Region

In the coming decades, experts say the impacts of climate change could lead to more people moving to the Great Lakes region to escape extreme weather.

Derek Van Berkel is an assistant professor at the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. He was the lead author of a commentary in the peer-reviewed journal “Earth’s Future.”

He says with hurricanes and rising sea levels impacting other parts of the country, the Great Lakes region could see an increase over time in what he calls “climate migrants.”

“If you see some of the climate impacts that the rest of the U.S. is experiencing, then you kind of start to piece together this idea that people might be attracted to those locations.”

Van Berkel is part of a group that is developing web-based applications, like interactive maps. This is intended to help residents, city officials, and others prepare for future climate migration scenarios.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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