Iowans: be ready for climate change - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans: be ready for climate change

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL)-- Some say the most obvious signs that Iowa's climate is changing would be the most recent flooding. Although its hard to think this event may happen again, researchers are saying to be ready for change.

"So instead of nice light rains spread out we will see down pours and that leads to more frequent flooding. We have always had flooding and always will, but the frequency of flooding is increasing," said Laura Jackson, UNI professor of biology.

A report compiled by the three Regent universities in Iowa says summer is becoming the normal time for seasonal flooding. The report was released this month and provided to Iowa lawmakers. Along with more precipitation, the report says we are seeing higher humidity and warmer temperatures.

Many farmers have adapted well to the change in weather patterns and started planting earlier to take advantage of the longer growing season.

"Higher CO2 concentrations, that's what plants need to grow. That is what makes it easier to have plants in the field longer. These longer growing seasons means higher yields," Jackson said.

But, researchers say don't hold your breath. In the next 50 years we should see the longer yield season shrink.

While some argue that recent flooding is due to climate change, others argue it's just been a few unlucky years.

"We can use statistics to decide whether this is just bad luck, normal bad luck, or is this worse and statistics show it is going to be worse," Jackson said.

The professors working on the project hope this will help lawmakers better understand Iowa and help determine what policies should be amended in the future.

Here is the full report: http://www.iowadnr.gov/iccac/files/completereport.pdf

Online Reporter: Nikki Newbrough

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