Iowa farmers hope for more precipitation in August


Image via Iowa Environmental Mesonet
Image via Iowa Environmental Mesonet

After excessive precipitation in June, July saw a bit of a dry spell, so Iowa farmers are hoping for a little more rainfall in August.

Heavy rainfall yesterday dropped more than 6 inches of rain on portions of western Iowa while much of the east side of the state saw less than an inch. Prior to Wednesday’s showers, there was less than an inch of rain during the previous three weeks which raised concerns for farmers. While July saw lower than average precipitation levels, temperatures were also lower than average which meant crops and other vegetation required less water.

According to this week’s USDA crop update, 77 percent of Iowa’s corn and 74 percent of the soy bean crop are rated as good or excellent. The report also finds that Iowa’s pastures and ranges are struggling the most with 8 percent classified as poor or very poor.

A chance of scattered showers are in the forecast for the rest of the day today while the weekend looks to be mostly dry.

Iowa water levels in good shape for 2014


 

PHoto by Carl Wycoff (Flickr)
Photo by Carl Wycoff (Flickr)

Normal snow levels over the winter season and cooler spring temperatures may lead to a more moderate 2014 in Iowa, according to state water and climate experts.

In an interview with KCRG, Mike Gannon of the University of Iowa’s IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering labs said that Iowa saw normal snowfall in the winter period and normal rainfall over the past few weeks, in contrast to roller coaster precipitation levels over the past three years. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources uses groundwater monitoring stations across the state to assess water quality, drought levels and future water supply.

State Climatologist Harry Hillaker told KCRG that lower temperatures have also contributed to stable groundwater levels by preventing groundwater from evaporating too quickly.

In addition to groundwater, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources also monitors Iowa’s lakes, wetlands, streams and beaches.

How Iowans adjust to climate change


2012 derecho; Photo by Meridith112, Flickr.
2012 derecho;
Photo by Meridith112, Flickr.

KWWL’s Special Assignment Report this week was focused on Iowa’s changing climate.

Between 2012’s drought and severe storms like those that rolled through the area on Sunday, Iowa is in the midst of change.

Jerry Schnoor, co-director of CGRER, says Iowa can expect to be warmer and wetter in the coming years.

While cities and farmers alike are adapting to increased flood risks, people everywhere need to think about sustainability in every aspect.

Mainly, citizens need to start reducing their dependence on fossil fuels to reduce greenhouse gases found in the atmosphere to truly adapt to our changing climate.

To watch the segment and read the story, head to KWWL. 

America’s risk for water scarcity linked to drought conditions


Image
Photo by Burning Rubber; Flickr

A new report from Columbia University’s Water Center reveals that some of America’s businesses and cities are undergoing a much greater risk than before of water scarcity. Continue reading

Rain helps lessen drought in Iowa


Photo by iowa_spirit_walker, Flickr.
Photo by iowa_spirit_walker, Flickr.

This week’s rain has helped lessen the drought in Iowa. The rainfall for the week was the most that has fallen in Iowa since June 2011.

The rain came after the ground thawed, which allows the water to soak in.

According to the last drought report, central Iowa is in a moderate drought, and some areas of northwest Iowa’s are experiencing more severe drought conditions.

Read more here.

On the Radio: The drought’s environmental benefits


Photo by cwwycoff1, Flickr.
Photo by cwwycoff1, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses the benefits of last year’s drought.

This past year’s drought actually had some benefits for Iowa’s environment.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Continue reading

On the Radio: Visitation increases at Iowa’s state parks


Dolliver State Park in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Photo by DopT, Flickr.
Dolliver State Park in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Photo by DopT, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses increased visitation at Iowa’s state parks.

After a number of wet summers, the dry conditions of 2012 seem to have helped increase visitation at Iowa’s state parks

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Continue reading

Drought could lead to forced water limits in Iowa


Photo by steelersfan8765, Flickr.
Photo by steelersfan8765, Flickr.

Drought conditions could lead to water conservation measures in some parts of Iowa.

Especially in Iowa’s northwest counties, there’s a chance that some areas will have to limit water usage. To avoid getting to this point, Iowans are encouraged to conserve water during their day-to-day activities.

Read more from The Gazette here.