Julia Poska | September 18, 2019
Today top Iowa climate scientists released the Iowa Climate Statement 2019: Dangerous Heat Event Will Become More Frequent and Severe, warning Iowans and Midwesterners of the serious heat-related dangers the climate crisis is creating in our region.
The report has been backed by 216 faculty and researchers from 38 Iowa colleges and universities. Based on the most up‐to‐date scientific sources, the statement makes clear the urgency of preparing for dangerously hot summers in coming decades.
Highlights from the statement
- By midcentury, temperatures in Iowa will exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit 67 days per year, compared to a 23‐day average in recent decades.
- By midcentury, the average daily high temperature for each year’s hottest five‐day period will be 98 degrees, compared to 92 degrees in recent decades.
- Once per decade, five‐day average high temperature will be 105 degrees.
- Extreme heat is the leading weather‐related cause of death in the U.S.. Low‐income neighborhoods, the elderly, outdoor workers (especially construction and farm labor) and domestic animals are especially vulnerable.
- Confined livestock are at increased risk for death and widespread productivity loses. Producers will need to adjust their operations to deal with extreme heat events.
- Adaptations to increasing heat waves will require expanded disaster preparedness, increased energy use and curtailment of outdoor work and recreation during times of extreme heat.
The UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research has released annual climate statements since 2011. These statements, vetted by Iowa’s top experts, place pivotal climate change research into an Iowa‐specific context, encouraging preparedness and resilience in the face of a climate crisis.