(TheBlaze/AP) — More than 130 scientists from Iowa colleges and universities say this year’s drought is consistent with a warmer climate predicted as part of global climate change, and that more droughts should be expected.
Scientists and researchers from 27 Iowa colleges and universities signed the Iowa Climate Statement released Monday, which claims global warming causes wet years to be wetter and dry years to be dryer. Those extremes lead to more flooding and drought, which Iowa has experienced both in recent years.
The state was particularly hard hit this year when drought spread across two-thirds of the country.
Christopher Anderson, the assistant director of Iowa State University’s climate science program, says there is “clear, statistical evidence” that extreme high temperatures are happening more often than extreme low temperatures in Iowa.
“Since 1981, the likelihood of severely wet springs has more than doubled. What was once a one-in-10-year wet spring is now occurring two to three times in every 10 years,” he said. “Yet 2012 reminds us that dry summers can still happen. The 2012 July and August statewide rainfall was the lowest since 1976.”
Jerald Schnoor, co-director of the University of Iowa’s Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, said state policymakers should use 2012 climate data to make new decisions, like doubling wind energy production and using methane from livestock manure and city sewage treatment plants.
“We have confidence in recent findings that climate change is real and having an impact on the Iowa economy and on our natural resources,” Schnoor said.
The scientists say warming will continue as global emissions increase and greenhouse gases accumulate, and that action is needed to prevent more natural disasters.
The statement urges: “Iowa should lead innovation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve resilience in agriculture and communities, and move towards greater energy efficiency and increased use of renewable energy.”