Iowa researchers recommend infrastructure changes in response to rising temperatures

Tyler Chalfant | September 26th, 2019

Researchers from the University of Iowa spoke at a press conference last week about rising temperatures in the state. The models used in the 2019 Iowa Climate Statement indicate that the number of days over 90 degrees in Iowa will rise from 23 to 67 by 2050.

Jerry Schnoor, co-director of the University of Iowa’s Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, spoke at the Cedar Rapids Public Library on Wednesday, September 18th about the changes needed to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. 

Those changes include solar farms and installing solar panels on homes, building wind turbines, improving energy efficiency and battery storage, along with carbon sequestration, regenerative agriculture practices, and reforestation. “All of these things take time. It takes time to change our infrastructure,” Schnoor said, but added that action is necessary in the next 16 months. 

Peter Thorne, of the UI Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, also spoke at the press conference, warning of the health risks posed by extreme heat. Heat is responsible for more than 600 deaths in the U.S. every year, making it the leading cause of weather-related deaths, according to the Center for Disease Control. 

Schnoor and Thorne also suggested infrastructure improvements to help prevent these deaths. This could include a program to cool homes during hotter months the way the Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program helps with heating costs during the winter. 

CGRER’s 25th anniversary reception highlights center’s inter-disciplinary emphasis

CGRER co-directors Jerry Schnoor (left) and Greg Carmichael. (CGRER)
CGRER co-directors Jerry Schnoor (left) and Greg Carmichael. (CGRER)

Nick Fetty | October 28, 2015

The University of Iowa’s Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a reception earlier this month.

Roughly 30 students, professors, politicians, and others attended the event which included short speeches from CGRER co-founders Greg Carmichael and Jerry Schnoor, CGRER member and former state legislator David Osterberg, and UI Vice President of Research and Economic Development Dan Reed.

“One of the really powerful attributes of CGRER is that it exemplifies [a] multi-disciplinary [approach],” Reed said. “That’s one of the great strengths, I think, of an organization like CGRER is it has this broad cross-section of intellectual activity driven by diverse and disparate disciplines across campus.”

CGRER was established in 1990 with the help of then state legislators Paul Johnson, David Osterberg, and Ralph Rosenberg. The Center started with 25 members and today has 112 members from eight different institutions, including Iowa’s three regent universities. These members encompass a wide range of academic disciplines from anthropology to urban and regional planning.

In commemoration of the event, CGRER compiled a 12-page report which includes profiles of CGRER members, a timeline of international and local climate events since the 1980s, and a message about the center’s history written by Carmichael and Schnoor.

IPR discusses Iowa’s water

The Mississippi River. Photo by SSShupe, Flckr.
The Mississippi River. Photo by SSShupe, Flckr.

Iowa Public Radio has released a piece about the state of Iowa’s water supply.

The beginning of the segment focuses on the research of University of Iowa assistant professor, and CGRER member, Craig Just. He discusses his research using mussels to monitor water quality in the Mississippi River.

Author Charles Fishman is also part of the radio segment. He wrote “The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water.”

Check out the full story here.

CGRER’s research video projects

CGRER's YouTube page
CGRER’s YouTube page

Iowa Now has featured an article about the research video projects that the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) is producing.

The first series of videos created by CGRER primarily focuses on graduate student researchers at UI. Those videos are available on the CGRER Research Focus YouTube channel.

The next series of videos features faculty members involved in UI’s water sustainability initiative. Those videos will be released on this blog when they’re finished.

Check out the Iowa Now article here.


(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.  Continue reading

Audio: UI’s Jerry Schnoor discusses phytoremediation

Jerry Schnoor is a Professor in the University of Iowa’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. He is also the co-director of the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER).

Phytoremediation refers to the process of using plants to mitigate environmental problems. This includes using plants to extract harmful contaminants from soil and groundwater. Jerry and his students have done research on phytoremediation for more than two decades.

UI’s Cory Forbes helps foster K-12 science

Cory Forbes works at his desk

In the 2007 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which assesses 4th-8th graders around the world, the United States ranked 11th in the science category. These kinds of results have both caused concern and spurred new research about how to better educate America’s youth in the sciences.

This is where Cory Forbes comes in. Forbes is an assistant professor of science education at the University of Iowa (UI) and a Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) member. Since arriving at UI in 2009, Forbes has led a series of research projects aimed at finding more affective ways to teach and foster learning of the sciences for elementary and middle school students.

Continue reading

Schnoor speaks with IPR about EPA

Photo by Michael Gallagher.

University of Iowa professor and Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research co-director Jerry Schnoor spoke the other day with Iowa Public Radio.

Schnoor explained the concerns he has for the Environmental Protection Agency’s future. He originally addressed these concerns in the “Science for Environmental Protection: The Road Ahead” report.

Listen to Schnoor speak here.

Iowa’s climate experts discuss climate change

East Indian Creek in Story County dried up because of this year’s drought. Photo by cwwycoff1, Flickr.

The Gazette has released an article where experts around the state address climate change and its affects on Iowa.

The experts include Iowa State University professor, and Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research member, Eugene Takle. According to Takle, both this year’s drought and the recent wet years Iowa has experienced are consistent with climate change. This is because climate change causes an increase in extreme weather events.

Other speakers in the article include ISU’s Christopher Anderson and Elywynn Taylor, state climatologist Harry Hillaker and state senator Rob Hogg.

Read the story here.

Jerry Schnoor advises EPA on future

Photo by DonkeyHotey, Flickr.

University of Iowa professor and Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) co-director Jerry Schnoor has helped create a report advising the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The “Science for Environmental Protection: The Road Ahead” report from the National Research Council calls on the EPA to become younger, smarter and more engaged in society.

Read more about the report here.