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2017 Sustainability Progress Report


The U-M Water Center addresses regional and national water resource challenges by engaging faculty and students at U-M. Science teams collaborate with natural resource managers and others to foster the co-production of science.

  • $20 million for Great Lakes research
  • 9 university partners on Great Lakes research

Larger-than-average summer ‘dead zone’ predicted for Chesapeake Bay

A U-M ecologist and colleges from several institutions forecasted a larger-than-average “dead zone” in Chesapeake Bay. Last summer’s Chesapeake Bay hypoxic or “dead zone,” an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and aquatic life, was expected to be approximately 1.89 cubic miles — nearly the volume of 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools.


Protecting the Great Lakes

Protecting the Great Lakes

A five-year, $20 million grant from the federal government will support research focused on sustainable management of the Great Lakes. The Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research will focus on four themes in line with research areas at NOAA’s Ann Arbor lab: observing systems and advanced technology, invasive species and food-web ecology, hydrometeorological and ecosystem forecasting, and protection and restoration of resources.

Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the institute represents a partnership between nine universities across the Great Lakes region, as well as multiple nongovernmental organizations and private businesses.

Rising sea levels

New findings from U-M explain an Ice Age paradox and add to the mounting evidence that climate change could bring higher seas than most models predict. The study shows how small spikes in the temperature of the ocean, rather than the air, likely drove the rapid disintegration cycles of the expansive ice sheet that once covered much of North America. Jeremy Bassis, U-M associate professor of climate and space sciences and engineering, developed a model to mathematically describe how ice breaks and flows which has led to a deeper understanding of how the Earth’s store of ice could react to changes in air or ocean temperatures, and how that might translate to sea level rise.