State climatologist Justin Glisan says Iowa is already seeing higher intensity rain events. For example, Ankeny got ten inches of rain in a three-hour period earlier this summer. “What we’re getting are more localized and smaller temporal-scale, extreme event-type thunderstorms,” Glisan says. “These thunderstorms form in the specific part of the state and they pop up and then they just rain out all this rain.”
Glisan says this heavier, more localized rain causes more soil runoff. The report by U.S. Global Change Research Program projects high temperatures increasing by seven- degrees by 2050 and more intense rain for the Midwest from 2050 to 2100.
Retired Iowa State University professor Gene Takle is a contributing author for the most recent national climate assessment report. Takle says the forecast for warmer high temperatures is troublesome. “We’re going to be seeing temperatures that are going to really be a factor in whether corn is really flourishing in this state,” Takle says.
Takle says a hot day in central Iowa can average between 90 to 95 degrees during the summer and temperatures above 95 degrees make it difficult for corn to grow. Takle co-authored research on the Midwest’s changing climate for the second volume of the report, which will be released in December.
(Thanks to Katie Peikes, Iowa Public Radio)