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 25th Anniversary Profiles: Peter Thorne

Dr. Peter Thorne has been at the University of Iowa since 1988. (College of Public Health/University of Iowa)

Nick Fetty | September 25, 2015

As one of the first members of CGRER, Peter Thorne appreciates the synergies he’s seen develop between CGRER and the UI College of Public Health, where he serves as the head of Occupational and Environmental Health.

Thorne says much of his department’s research is divided into three categories: air and water quality issues associated with livestock production, the effect of climate change on public health, and non-agriculture sources of air and water pollution.

“The tools and expertise of CGRER members have been valuable to those of us looking at the interplay between environmental issues and public health,” he said.

Thorne also admires the way CGRER engages with the public on environmental issues.

“As scholars, we need to do more of this sort of engagement and education,” he said. “CGRER is a model for how to do this effectively.”

In looking to the future, Thorne believes it’s vital that current CGRER members help train the next generation of researchers and scientists.

“As we senior researchers grow older, helping with the transition to new leadership is essential,” he said. “There’s no shortage of talent, but we need to make sure these younger people are nurtured and supported.”

Event: Johnson County Climate Forum

UI engineering professor and CGRER co-director Dr. Jerry Schnoor will deliver a keynote speech at the Johnson County Climate forum on April 18. (Michael Gallagher/Iowa Environmental Focus)

Nick Fetty | April 14, 2015

The Iowa United Nations Association (UNA) is hosting its inaugural forum to address climate change on an international scale.

The first of the eight-part community forum series will kick off in Iowa City on Saturday April 18. The event will take place at the University Athletic Club (1360 Melrose Ave, Iowa City) and is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Cost of attendance is $10 which includes lunch. Those interested in attending must register before the event.

The event will include keynote speeches from UI engineering professor and CGRER co-director Jerry Schnoor as well as CGRER member Peter Thorne who also serves as a professor in the College of Public Health. There will also be panel discussions of student activism on climate change, the impact of climate change worldwide, and opportunities for citizen action. This series will serve as a preface for the UN’s conference to curb global greenhouse gas emissions scheduled to take place in Paris this December.

For more information about Saturday’s event, email Iowa UNA Exectuve Director Matthew Wolf: matthew[AT]

Monetary sponsors for this event include: UI Office of Sustainability, National Education Association Peace and Justice Iowa Caucus, Hills Bank and Trust Company, Rotary Club of Iowa City – Noon, John Fraser, Dorothy Paul. Other partners include: Johnson County UNA, UI Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, UI Center for Human Rights, UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sierra Club, ECO IC.

On the Radio: Floods take toll on Iowans’ health

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In its recent report to the Governor, members of the Iowa Climate Change Impacts Committee detailed just how much floods can threaten public health.

Listen to the details in this week’s radio segment: Iowa floods – Damaging public healthContinue reading

Thorne honored with John Doull Award

Peter Thorne

Peter Thorne, Ph.D., professor and head of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, received the 2010 John Doull Award at the annual meeting of the Central States Chapter of the Society of Toxicology Nov. 4-5 in Iowa City.

This prestigious award is presented each year by the CS-SOT to honor the contributions of an outstanding member of the discipline of toxicology and the chapter. The award is named after Dr. John Doull in honor of his distinguished career in toxicology.

Since 2001, Thorne has served as director of the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center at the UI. He teaches graduate-level courses on environmental health, human toxicology and hazards of biological agents and is a co-founder of the UI Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Human Toxicology.

And for those of you who have made it to this point in the post but aren’t sure what toxicology is: It’s the study of the adverse effects of chemical, physical or biological agents on people, animals, and the environment.

Important stuff, to say the least.