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Climate Change

Winding road lit by sunilight filtering through hazeAmong the climate changes Iowa is already experiencing are:

More Precipitation
  • Increased frequency of precipitation extremes that lead to flooding.
  • Increase of 8 percent more precipitation from 1873 to 2008.
  • A larger increase in precipitation in eastern Iowa than in western Iowa.
Higher Temperatures
  • Long-term winter temperatures have increased six times more than summer temperatures.
  • Nighttime temperatures have increased more than daytime temperatures since 1970.
  • Iowa’s humidity has risen substantially, especially in summer, which now has 13 percent more atmospheric moisture than 35 years ago as indicated by a 3 - 5 degree F rise in dew-point temperature. This fuels convective thunderstorms that provide more summer precipitation.
Agricultural Challenges
  • Climate extremes, not averages, have the greater impact on crop and livestock productivity.
  • Increased soil erosion and water runoff.
  • Increased challenges associated with manure applications.
  • Favorable conditions for survival and spread of many unwanted pests and pathogens.
Habitat Changes
  • Plants are leafing out and flowering sooner.
  • Birds are arriving earlier in the spring.
  • Particular animals are now being sighted farther north than in the past.
Public Health Effects
  • Increases in heart and lung programs from increasing air pollutants of ozone and fine particles enhanced by higher temperatures.
  • Increases in infectious diseases transmitted by insects that require a warmer, wetter climate.
  • An increase prevalence of asthma and allergies.

The above was reported in the Iowa Climate Change Impacts Committee’s Report to the Governor and the Iowa General Assembly. The complete report is available on the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council's website.