Systems Planning

Climate Adaptation

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​​Precipitation has increased 25% in the last 30 years in Ann Arbor and the frequency of extreme storm events has increased 43%.  Climate experts agree that climate change is already occurring and the impacts are likely to increase in the future. The City of Ann Arbor recognizes the serious threats that climate change poses to the local environment, economy, and livelihoods and is taking steps to prepare for these unavoidable climate changes.

Adaptation vs. Mitigation

  • Mitigation – Efforts to reduce sources of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Adaptation – Efforts to prepare for unavoidable climate change

Undertaking both adaptation and mitigation efforts will make Ann Arbor most resilient to climate changes. For example, building rain gardens and harvesting rainwater on-site is an adaptation technique that facilitates a reduction in flooding during storm events. This action also saves energy by reducing the need to pump water, which is a long-term mitigation technique. Ann Arbor's Climate Action Plan, adopted by City Council in December 2012, identifies both adaptation and mitigation strategies for the city.


​(Scroll down for more A2 climate impact videos)​

​What climate impacts are expected?

According to Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessment (GLISA), Ann Arbor is expected to experience a variety of impacts to its current climate. Expected impacts include:

  • Warmer average temperatures
  • Warmer low and nighttime temperatures
  • Shorter winters
  • More total precipitation
  • More severe precipitation events
  • More extreme heat and drought

​What does this mean for Ann Arbor?

Ann Arbor must begin to plan for and adapt to the effects of climate changes both within the community and within municipal systems. The City must determine whether, and for how long, present asset management strategies will continue to be cost effective under different climate scenarios. This approach will help the City identify the largest threats to city systems and identify priority actions that will make community members and infrastructure systems more resilient to changes in climate.

​What way cool projects are underway?

​Community Climate Partnership

The Ecology Center, the Huron River Watershed Council, the City of Ann Arbor, along with a growing list of other partners launched the Community Climate Partnership to implement Ann Arbor's Climate Action Plan. Note: The City of Ann Arbor's Climate Action Plan was made possible by a generous Pollution Prevention Grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.


Urban and Community Forestry Management Plan

The current urban and community forestry management plan underdevelopment will help increase the quality and size of the urban and community forest, which is an adaptive strategy to improve water quality and limit flooding by mitigating stormwater runoff


Sustainability Framework

The City's sustainability framework, which is an element of the City Master Plan​, sets goals that address sustainable energy, energy conservation, sustainable buildings, safe community, transportation options, and sustainable systems

Green Streets Policy

Ann Arbor City Council recently adopted a Green Streets Policy that sets stormwater infiltration standards for public streets

Green Roof on City Hall

Approximately 10,000 square feet of vegetation on the roof of City Hall helps capture over 6,000 gallons of rainwater per storm event. 

Dr. Missy Stults
Manager, Office of Sustainability and Innovations
734.794.​6430 x43725​