IOWA CLIMATE STATEMENT: THE DROUGHT OF 2012


(Des Moines) Iowans can expect more extreme weather like the 2012 drought thanks to changes in the climate caused by greenhouse gases.  That’s according to a statewide group of Iowa scientists who believe that Iowans should act now to reduce economic costs due to climate change

“In a warmer climate, wet years get wetter and dry years get dryer.  And dry years get hotter — that is precisely what happened in Iowa this year, “ said Chris Anderson, Research Assistant Professor, Climate Science Program at Iowa State University. 

The IOWA CLIMATE STATEMENT: The Drought of 2012 was released by one hundred and thirty-eight science faculty and research staff from 27 Iowa colleges and universities.  This year’s statement focuses on the prospects for future Iowa extreme weather events like the 2012 drought and the extreme flooding that preceded it.

“Iowans are living with climate change now and it is already costing us money,” Dave Courard-Hauri, Chair, Environmental Science and Policy Program at Drake University.  “Iowans can be a part of the solution, creating jobs and growing our economy in the process.”

The strong support for the statement represents the growing consensus among Iowa science faculty and research staff that action is needed now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implement mitigation strategies.

“We have confidence in recent findings that climate change is real and having an impact on the Iowa economy and on our natural resources,” said Jerry Schnoor, Co-Director, Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research at the University of Iowa.

“The climate likely will continue to warm due to increasing global emissions and accumulation of greenhouse gases.  There is solid evidence that extreme high temperatures are occurring disproportionately more than extreme low temperatures.”

The complete statement and supporting information can be found at www.cgrer.uiowa.edu/

The lead authors of the Updated: Iowa Climate Statement: The Drought of 2012 include:

Gene Takle, Director, Climate Science Program, Professor of Agronomy, Professor of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University.

Jerald Schnoor, Co-Director, Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, University of Iowa.

Christopher J. Anderson,  Research Assistant Professor, Climate Science Program, Iowa State University.

Greg Carmichael, Co-Director, Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, University of Iowa.

Neil Bernstein, Chair, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Mount Mercy University.

David Courard-Hauri, Chair, Environmental Science and Policy Program, Drake University.

For more information on climate change in Iowa visit:

Assessment of Potential Impacts of Climate Changes on Iowa Using Current Trends and Future Projections – Eugene S. Takle Director, Climate Science Program

http://climate.engineering.iastate.edu/Document/Climate_Changes_for_Iowa_18.pdf

Iowa Department of Natural Resources website with climate change links

http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/ClimateChange/ClimateChangeAdvisoryCo.aspx

Climate Change Impacts on Iowa 2010

http://www.iowadnr.gov/portals/idnr/uploads/air/environment/climatechange/executive_summary.pdf?amp;tabid=1077

Climate Change Advisory Council Final Report – December 2008

http://www.iowadnr.gov/portals/idnr/uploads/air/environment/climatechange/final_part1.pdf?amp;tabid=1077

Full Climate Statement:

As science faculty and research staff at Iowa universities and colleges, we have confidence in recent findings that climate change is real and having an impact on the economy and natural resources of Iowa. We feel that it is important for citizens of Iowa to understand its implications. Iowans are living with climate change now and it is costing us money already. The drought that we are currently experiencing is consistent with an observed warmer climate, although science cannot say with certainty that the drought of 2012 was caused directly by human activities. The following observations support the case that more droughts and floods are likely in the future.

1. Globally over the past 30 years, there is clear statistical evidence that extreme high temperatures are occurring disproportionately more than extreme low temperatures. The climate likely will continue to warm due to increasing global emissions and accumulation of greenhouse gases.

2. In a warmer climate, wet years get wetter and dry years get dryer. And dry years get hotter ‐ that is precisely what happened in Iowa this year. We can expect Iowa to experience higher temperatures when dry weather patterns predominate. The latest science, based on overwhelming lines of physical evidence, indicates we can expect dry periods to be more frequent as soon as the 2020s.

3. Iowa also has experienced an increasing frequency of intense rains over the past 50 years (Iowa Climate Change Impacts 2010, http://www.dnr.gov), likely due to a higher surface evaporation in a warmer world. Because of these extremes in precipitation (drought and flood), Iowans will increasingly need infrastructure investments to adapt to climate fluctuations while developing and implementing mitigation.

As global citizens, Iowans should be a part of the solution. We can prosper, create jobs, and provide an engine for economic growth in the process (Iowa Climate Change Advisory Committee 2008 report, www.iaclimatechange.us). 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.

Signed by:

(Note: Endorser affiliations are for identifications purposes only and do not reflect views of their academic institutions)

Gene Takle
Director, Climate Science Program
Professor of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University

Greg Carmichael
Co-Director
Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research
University of Iowa

Jerald Schnoor
Co-Director
Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research
University of Iowa

David Courard-Hauri
Associate Professor
Environmental Science and Policy Program
Drake University

Chris Anderson
Research Assistant Professor
Climate Science Program
Iowa State University

Neil Bernstein
Chair, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences
Mount Mercy University

Marc P. Armstrong
Professor and CLAS Collegiate Fellow
Department of Geography
University of Iowa

Mark Aronson
Department of Biology
Scott Community College

Richard G. Baker
Professor Emeritus
Department of Geoscience
University of Iowa

Paul E. Bartelt
Professor
Department of Biology

Waldorf College
Philip W. Becraft
Professor of Genetics & Agronomy
Iowa State University

David Bennett
Professor and Chair
Department of Geography
University of Iowa

Russ Bennedict
Professor and Chair
Biology Department
Central College

Peter Berendzen
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
University of Northern Iowa

Art Bettis
President, American Quaternary Association, Environmental Sciences Program
Department of Geoscience
University of Iowa

Ryan Bezy
Assistant Professor of Biology
Dept. of Natural & Applied Sciences
Mount Mercy University

Diane Birt
Distinguished Professor
Food Science and Human Nutrition
Iowa State University

Andrea Bixler
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
Clarke University

Kimran Buckholz
Adjunct Instructor
Department of Biology
University of Northern Iowa

Garry R. Buettner
Professor
Free Radical and Radiation Biology
Department of Radiation Oncology College of Medicine
University of Iowa

Aaron Bunker
Department of Biology
Morningside College

Beth E. Caissie
Assistant Professor
Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Iowa State University

David G. Campbell
Professor of Biology and
Chair of Environmental Studies
Department of Biology
Grinnell College

Cliff Chancey
Professor and Head
Department of Physics
University of Northern Iowa

Silvia Cianzio
Professor
Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University

Russell Ciochon
Director of Museum Studies
Department of Anthropology
University of Iowa

Charles Connerly
Professor and Director
School of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Iowa

James Cornette
Emeritus Professor of Mathematics
Iowa State University

Richard Cruse
Professor and Director of the Iowa Water Center
Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University

Dennis Dahms
Professor
Quaternary Geochronology & Paleoenvironment, Department of Geography
University of Northern Iowa

John Dawson
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics
Kirkwood Community College

Robert L. De Haan
Chair, Environmental Studies Department
Professor of Biology
Dordt College

Diane Debinski
Professor
Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Iowa State University

Rhawn Denniston
Chair, Environmental Studies Program, Associate Professor of Geology
Department of Geology
Cornell College

Gary Donnermeyer
Biology Professor
Math-Science Department
Kirkwood Community College

Barbara Eckstein
Professor of English and International Studies
Department of English
University of Iowa

Kamyar Enshayan
Director, Center for Energy & Environmental Education
University of Northern Iowa

Janet Ewart
Associate Professor of Biology
Division of Health and Life Sciences
William Penn University

Steven L. Fales
Professor Emeritus
Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University

Elizabeth H. Field
Professor, Internal Medicine
Division of Immunology
University of Iowa

R. William Field
Professor
Department of Occupational & Environmental Health,
Department of Epidemiology,
College of Public Health
University of Iowa

Andrew A. Forbes
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
University of Iowa

Cory Forbes
Assistant Professor of Science Education
College of Education
University of Iowa

Johanna Foster
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
Wartburg College

Jack Gittinger
Professor
Science Education
Simpson College

Charles Glatz
Professor
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Iowa State University

Vicki F. Grassian
Professor
Department of Chemistry
University of Iowa

David Grewell
Associate Professor
Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering
Iowa State University

Bill Gutowski
Professor of Meteorology
Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Iowa State University

Earl Hammond
Professor Emeritus
Iowa State University

Brian T. Hazlett
Professor
Department of Biology
Briar Cliff University

Emily Heaton
Assistant Professor, Biomass Crop Production
Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University

Suzanne Hendrich
Faculty Senate President
Professor, Food Science & Human Nutrition
Iowa State University

Steve Hendrix
Professor
Department of Biology
University of Iowa

Richard Honzato
Professor
Biochemical, Biophysics and Molecular Biology
Iowa State University

Brian Hornbuckle
Associate Professor
Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University

Keri C. Hornbuckle
Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Associate Dean for Academic Programs, College of Engineering
University of Iowa

Diana Horton
Associate Professor Emerita
Department of Biology
University of Iowa

Stephen Howell
Professor
Plant Sciences Institute

Iowa State University

Alesia Hruska-Hageman
Assistant Professor of Biology
Mount Mercy University

Neal Iverson
Professor and Smith Family Foundation Chair
Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Iowa State University

Laura Jackson
Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
University of Northern Iowa

Sam James
Adjunct Associate Professor
Department of Biology
University of Iowa

Fredric Janzen
Professor
Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Iowa State University

Craig Just
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Iowa

Frederick Kirschenmann
Distinguished Fellow
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Iowa State University

Andrew Kitchen
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
University of Iowa

Witold Krajewski
Professor,
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Director, Iowa Flood Center
University of Iowa

David Laird
Professor
Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University

Rick Lampe
Professor
Department of Biology
Buena Vista

Dennis Lavrov
Associate Professor
Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Iowa State University

Matt Liebman
Henry A. Wallace Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture / Professor of Agronomy
Iowa State University

Marc Linderman
Associate Professor
Department of Geography
University of Iowa

Gabriele Ludewig
Professor
Department of Occupational & Environmental Health
University of Iowa

J. Elizabeth Maas
Science Instructor
Kirkwood Community College

Gustavo MacIntosh
Associate Professor
Plant Sciences Institute
Iowa State University

Mark T. Madsen
Professor
Department of Radiology
University of Iowa

Zachary Mangin
Graduate Research Assistant
Geologic and Atmospheric Sciences
Iowa State University

Dave May
Professor
Department of Geography
University of Northern Iowa

M. Patrick McAdams
Assistant Professor of Geology
Division of Health and Life Science
William Penn University

David McCullough
Professor of Biology, Coordinator Environmental Studies
Wartburg College

Laura C. Merrick
Lecturer
Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University

Fernando Miguez
Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University

Siobahn Morgan
Head, Department of Earth Science
University of Northern Iowa

Rasika G. Mudalige
Associate Professor
Department of Natural and Applied Sciences
University of Dubuque

Marian Muste
Research Engineer and Adjunct Professor
IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering
University of Iowa

Connie Mutel
Senior Science Writer
IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering
University of Iowa

Robert Mutel
Professor of Astronomy
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Iowa

Maurine Neiman
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
University of Iowa

Marit Nilsen-Hamilton
Professor
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology
Iowa State University

Fred Ochs
Professor of Chemistry & Earth Science
Kirkwood Community College

Steve L. O’Kane, Jr.
Professor
Department of Biology
University of Northern Iowa

Dale W. Olson
Professor of Physics
Department of Physics
University of Northern Iowa

David Osterberg
Associate Clinical Professor
Occupational and Environmental Health
University of Iowa

Reuben J. Peters
Professor & Director of Graduate Education
Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, & Molecular Biology
Iowa State University

Laura Peterson
Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental Studies and Chemistry
Luther College

Gary Phillips
Environmental Studies Department
Iowa Lakes Community College

Jim Raich
Professor
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology
Iowa State University

Mark Rasmussen
Director
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Iowa State University

Mark Reagan
Professor & DEO
Department of Geoscience
University of Iowa

Ryan Rehmeier
Director
Environmental Science and Sustainability Studies; Biology
Simpson College

Peter Reilly
Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Iowa State University

Larry Robertson
Professor
Department of Occupational & Environmental Health
University of Iowa

Thomas Rosburg
Professor of Biology,
Department of Biology
Drake University

Melanie H. Sadeghpour
Program Chair, Environmental Science
Co-Chair, DMACC Sustainability Task Force
Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Ecology
Des Moines Area Community College

Paula Sanchini
Professor
Department of Biology
Coe College

Michelle Scherer
Professor and DEO
Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Iowa

Patrick S. Schnable
Baker Professor of Agronomy
Director, Center for Plant Genomics
Iowa State University

Holmes A. Semken
Professor Emeritus
Department of Geoscience
University of Iowa

Anupam Sharma
Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering
Iowa State University

David A. Shealer
Associate Professor of Biology
Loras College

Mack Shelley
Professor of Statistics Political Science, and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Iowa State University

William Simpkins
Professor of Hydrogeology
Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Iowa State University

Daryl Smith
Director
Tallgrass Prairie Center
University of Northern Iowa

Scott Spak
Assistant Professor
Urban and Regional Planning and the UI Public Policy Center
University of Iowa

Steven R. Spangler
Professor
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Iowa

Martin St. Clair
Professor
Department of Chemistry
Coe College

Charles Stanier
Associate Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
College of Engineering
University of Iowa

Betsy Stone
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
University of Iowa

Robert Summerfelt
Professor Emeritus
Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Iowa State University

Keith Summerville
Environmental Science and Policy
Drake University
Kathryn Szramek
Environmental Science and Policy

Drake University
Elwynn Taylor
Extension Climatologist
Iowa State University

Geb Thomas
Associate Professor
Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
University of Iowa

Peter S. Thorne
Professor and Head
Department of Occupational & Environmental Health, Director, Environmental Health Sciences Research Center
University of Iowa

Bill Stigliani
Professor of Environmental Science
Center for Energy & Environmental Education
University of Northern Iowa

Sara Sybesma Tolsma
Professor
Department of Biology
Northwestern College

H.S. Udaykumar
Professor
Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
University of Iowa

Richard L. Valentine
Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Iowa

Michael Walter
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
University of Northern Iowa

Al Wanamaker
Assistant Professor
Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Iowa State University

Larry Weber
Director, Edwin B. Green Chair in Hydraulics
IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering
University of Iowa

Paul Weihe
Associate Professor
Biology & Environmental Science – Biology Department
Central College

Brian Wilsey
Associate Professor
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology
Iowa State University

Sally Wilson
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
Iowa Valley Community College District

Danielle Wirth
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Environmental Science and Policy Program
Des Moines Area Community College

Peter T. Wolter
Assistant Professor
Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Iowa State University

Mark A. Young
Professor
Department of Chemistry
University of Iowa

Catherine Zeman
Professor, Environmental Health
Health Division
University of Northern Iowa

About Michael Gallagher

I am originally from outside of Chicago, but I have spent the last five years in Iowa pursuing my education. From 2006-2010 I attended Grinnell College, where I received a B.A. in English. Currently, I am a graduate student in the University of Iowa's journalism department. In addition to my work for CGRER, I write for the non-profit investigative reporting organization Iowa Watch. Previously, I worked as a freelance writer, primarily contributing to Hoopla (The Gazette's arts and culture publication), and I assistant coached the Grinnell College cross country and track teams for a year. My interests include writing, running, watching the Chicago Bulls, and . . . environmental news!
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