Tyler Chalfant | September 24th
Professors from Iowa universities spoke at the statehouse last Wednesday, Radio Iowa reported. The 216 climate educators who issued the ninth annual Iowa Climate Statement represent 38 colleges and universities in the state.
This year’s statement warned of the increased intensity and frequency of heat waves that Iowa will experience in the coming decades. The group projects that the number of days exceeding 90 degrees will more than double within the next two decades, and nearly triple by mid-century.
The scientists spoke about how these increased temperatures will put Iowans at greater risk of heat related illnesses, including heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke, or death. Scientists have predicted that rural areas will likely be hit the hardest by rising temperatures, and that the Midwest will see the greatest number of premature deaths caused by heat.
Peter Levi, an Environmental Science professor at Drake University, said that those facing the most danger “include our friends and neighbors who work outside on a regular basis, older adults above age 65, infants and children, those individuals with chronic conditions, low-income households and our athletes.”
Levi also said that extreme heat will harm the state’s livestock industry, as confined livestock are at increased risk of death, and won’t reach a marketable weight as quickly when stressed by high temperatures.
“It’s not hopeless,” added Bill Gutowski, an Atmospheric Sciences professor at Iowa State University, indicating that there is still time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “I want people to realize it’s not hopeless and there are adaptations that we can do as well.”