Skip to main content
University of Wisconsin–Madison

WICCI 2021 Assesment Report

February 14, 2022

On Thursday February 10, the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) released their 2021 Assessment Report on Wisconsin’s changing climate. The report finds that noticeable changes have occurred within the state. Since 1950, statewide average temperatures have warmed by 3 degrees—not within the state’s natural climate variability —resulting in the past two decades being the warmest on record. Similarly, annual precipitation increased by 17%, and the 2010s were the wettest decade on record. This is alongside extreme storms that have caused damage to property and loss of life.

According to the report, by the middle of the century, average temperatures will be between 2 to 8 degrees warmer. This would make some of Wisconsin’s warmest years the new normal, and climate shifts will result in southern Wisconsin having the relative climate of Illinois today. Climate change will bring impacts to the environment in the form of soil erosion and water pollution. Decreased milk production, increased water use, and waterlogged soils delaying planting and harvesting are expected in the agricultural sector.

Two of WICCI’s co-directors, Stephen Vavrus and Dan Vimont, spoke with the Wisconsin State Journal to further detail the report. Vavrus is an AOS Alum (M.S. 1992, Ph.D. 1997) and is a senior scientist at the Nelson Institute’s Center for Climatic Research (CCR). Vimont is the director of CCR alongside being a professor at AOS.

Both researchers emphasized that while the report is dire, it also calls for actions to reduce emissions and adapt to a changing climate. This includes for Wisconsin to “fully embrace clean energy, walkable communities, public transportation, and green building design”.