A new report from researchers at the state’s public universities indicates climate change is affecting the way Iowans live and work. Legislation approved in 2009 asked members of a state committee to study the effects of changing weather patterns. University of Iowa Environmental Engineering professor Jerry Schnoor says lawmakers should take action now to mitigate the impact climate change in having on Iowa.
“Whatever natural warming you believe is occurring, we are adding to it – that’s without a doubt,” Schnoor said. “So, the policy recommendations in this report, I think, are only prudent and make common sense for us to respond to that change.” The study found increases in precipitation and longer and warmer growing seasons. Schnoor says many Iowans are unknowingly responding to changes.
“For example, farmers may not realize that the growing season has become longer, but they’re planting their crops earlier than they used to,” Schnoor said. “Cities may not realize that winters have become somewhat warmer, but also perhaps slushier and icier. It affects their budgets and how much road salt they need to include or even road repairs.”
The report points to longterm trends in the state toward extreme summer rainfall and warmer temperatures during winter. The committee recommends a number of initiatives to address changing weather patterns. They include increasing investments in state wildlife habitat programs and asking the Iowa Department of Public Health to report on health effects associated with climate change. Schnoor was a guest on the Iowa Public Radio program The Exchange.
See the full report here : www.iowadnr.gov/iccac/files/completereport.pdf