Technical Assessment of Climate Science Needs in the Midwest

Forest floor covered in snow.
Snowy forest trail in Madison, WI. Public domain. 

There are innumerable natural resource management challenges related to climate change and with limited resources, the prioritization of research, responsive to these challenges, is essential. ​

Challenge: Prioritizing the relative importance of future research related to gaps in regional information on climate adaptation and limits to the extent of existing knowledge for climate adaptation for natural and cultural resources.​

Principal Investigator(s):


  • Sarah Skikne (University of Minnesota)
  • Olivia E LeDee (Climate Adaptation Science Centers)
  • Kristen J Voorhies (Climate Adaptation Science Centers)
  • Susan Galatowitsch (University of Minnesota)
  • Jeremy Guest (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)
  • Thomas Kenote (College of the Menominee Nation)
  • Ellen Ketterson (Indiana University)

In 2020, in partnership with the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NE CASC), the Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (MW CASC) completed a four-part process to identify climate science priorities for both the Northeast and Midwest regions. The process included: structured feedback from an advisory committee, the completion of six listening sessions, feedback from project partners, and a review of regional climate initiatives. These efforts identified five management challenges for the MW CASC: 1) heavy precipitation events and drought, 2) loss of winter, 3) altered water levels, flows and temperatures, 4) new terrestrial landscapes resulting from climate change, and 5) barriers and opportunities for climate adaptation.

This project will perform a technical assessment of the Midwest CASC’s science priorities. By collaborating with consortium experts, this project will assess how much is known about these priorities, identify emerging science gaps, and prioritize priorities most relevant for reducing uncertainty for Midwest climate-related issues.

In particular, the methods used in this project will draw upon expert knowledge from Consortium institutions about the quality and extent of existing knowledge, and the feasibility and importance of potential research. Researchers will also perform a literature review to illuminate findings on adapting to climate change in the Midwest. The results of this work will ensure that Midwest CASC research priorities are informed by current scientific understanding, technical feasibility, and opportunity for impact – and that they capture the full range of relevant issues and are attentive to emerging concerns.

Read more from the CASC Project Explorer

Project Details

Principal Investigator
Jessica Hellmann
Principal Investigator Organization
University of Minnesota