A panel of representatives from the three state universities is raising concerns about climate change in Iowa. The group is reporting a trend toward warmer temperatures and heavier precipitation, which will likely impact future government policies. The Iowa Legislature asked the 10-member panel to study changes in the state’s climate over the past 50 years.
The panel found winter temperatures in Iowa have risen by nearly two-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit per decade over that time. The number of severe rain storms has increased by more than 30%. State Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids says he doesn’t believe the situation will improve.
“By the 2040s, some of the studies suggest we could see another 21% increase in precipitation leading to a 50% increase in stream flow,” Hogg said. The report indicates the extreme weather in Iowa is eroding farm soil and damaging roads and bridges. Hogg says the findings raise questions for legislators.
“Do we begin to change policies for how we construct bridges and roads? Do we begin to change how we manage our watersheds? Do we invest more in flood protection and help communities across our state with the funds they need to mitigate future disasters?” Hogg said. He hopes the legislature will address some of those questions during the upcoming session.