In years past by September, Iowa no longer expects rain. However that is obviously not the case with heavy rainfall the past 10 days and more expected in the forecast. Professor Gabriele Villarini, a faculty affiliate of the Iowa Flood Center at the University of Iowa, paired with Assistant Research Scientist Wei Zhang to develop the images above for context around the rain we are currently experiencing.
The top left panel shows that from 1981 to 2010 Iowa could expect at most 2 inches of rain in August and September. The bottom left panel shows that we are currently expecting 8-10 inches.
The top right panel shows that in this time period, Iowa is experiencing the most rainfall since 1948. The bottom right panel shows that in some areas there is more than 80% rain now than the second largest rainfall.
This weeks segment talks about why Iowa and other mid-latitude states are experiencing hotter summers.
Summers in mid-latitudes, including Iowa, are warming faster than other seasons, a recent study found.
This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.
Between forty and sixty degrees latitude in the Northern Hemisphere, an area from the southern Iowa border to mid Canada warmed more rapidly in the summer than in the winter over a thirty-eight-year-period,
The study published in the journal Scienceattributed this finding to the fact that a substantial amount of Earth’s land mass is concentrated in this zone, and land tends to heat up more quickly than the ocean. This can have serious implications on agriculture, because much of this land is used to grow crops in the summer, particularly in Iowa.
This study was conducted using a fingerprint method, meaning the researchers could distinguish natural climatic warming from increased temperatures due to human activity.
This weeks segment talks about how Iowa is the country leader in soil conservation mapping.
Iowa is now one of the country’s leaders in soil conservation mapping.
This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.
Iowa officials have recently completed a map of the conservation efforts in the state. This map identifies the six different methods of soil conservation used in Iowa—including terraces, ponds, grassed waterways, sediment control basins, and more. The map shows where practices are deployed and how they are funded.
The map also acts as a visual for determining how different areas of Iowa are being funded for their conservation efforts, and whether that funding is public or private.
Iowa is the first state to conduct such a thorough analysis of its conservation practices statewide. The project took three years and was a joint effort between Iowa State University and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Researchers used something called LiDAR—laser imaging software—and years of aerial photographs to compile the conservation map.
Iowa State University is currently performing additional research to build a newer map, one that also shows the reduction of sediment and phosphorous buildup in Iowa’s waterways.
For more information, visit Iowa Environmental Focus dot org.
From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Sara E Mason.
Flavonoid is a group of phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables that has recently been used as a natural preservative in food. The naturally occurring chemical is responsible for defending the plant against pathogens, pests, or other environmental stressors. It is also the reason onions, tea, strawberries, kale, grapes and other foods have such vivid colors.
During testing in a room temperature environment, food with flavonoids were able to stay fresh for 2 days without refrigeration while current artificial preservatives succumb to bacteria after 6 hours.
This research could not be announced at a better time as just last month the American Academy of Pediatrics had 67,000 pediatricians in the U.S. step forward about their concerns of nitrates and nitrites being used to preserve meat products. Research has show that nitrates and nitrites can interfere with thyroid hormone production, the metabolic process and cause gastrointestinal and nervous system cancers. Flavonoids are packed with vitamins and do not cause harm to the digestive system.
A former adviser to the World Health Organization and consultant Medical Oncologist, Dr. Gabriel Oon Chong Jin said in an interview, “Flavonoids are important natural food supplements with vitamins, but also used as food additives, without causing harm to the human system. This is unlike currently available artificial preservatives used in most processed foods such as aspartame and nitrates, which may cause cancer among other adverse health effects.”
The research team is being led by Professor William Chen, the Director of NTU’s Food Science & Technology program. The recent findings were published in last month’s Food Chemistry journal.
Monsanto, however, stands by the safety of its product and criticized the Environmental Working Group for seeking an agenda. The New York Times reported that the Food and Drug Administration will look into the groups findings.
Polystrene microspheres were used as a catalyst to start the crystallization at room temperature. The microspheres were preserved in the process, making them potentially reusable for more magnesite production. The formation occurring at room temperature is another aspect which makes this production process more sustainable. Not having to heat and pressurize the magnesite for a long period of time makes the whole production process more energy efficient.
The data from 2017 also reveals that last year, atmospheric greenhouse gas levels were the highest ever recorded. The average global carbon dioxide concentrations reached 405 parts per million. This far surpasses any carbon dioxide concentrations from previous climate data, as well as C02 concentrations found in ice cores from well over half a million years ago.
The report also contains information about continued sea level rise, ocean surface temperatures, coral bleaching, and declining polar ice cap coverage. To read the State of the Climate in 2017, or any of the past reports, click here.