Researchers speak at statehouse about rising temperatures


Photo from Radio Iowa | Bill Gutowski speaks while Peter Levi listens in

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.”

November 2017 brought drought to Iowa


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A portion of the dried up East Indian Creek southeast of Nevada during the 2012 drought. (Carl Wycoff/flickr)

Jenna Ladd | December 5, 2017

Last month was the driest month since 2007 according to state climatologist Harry Hillaker.

Hillaker spoke with Radio Iowa this week and said, “Overall a state average of .43 of an inch of moisture for the month, which is about 20 percent of what is usual. And actually the driest of any calendar month going back to November of 2007.”

Conditions were abnormally dry at all monitoring stations, especially in northwestern Iowa, where some areas of Ida county and Cherokee county received zero precipitation last month. The whole state only saw a minuscule amount of snow for the eighth time in Iowa’s 131-year weather record.  Hillaker said, “The statewide average was just a trace of snow and typically we’d get three to four inches of snow during the month of November.”

While there were some colder days in the beginning of November, warmer than average temperatures during the second half of the month made snowfall even less likely. The climatologist pointed out that there was virtually no precipitation in the state after the 18th of November.

November wraps up the fall season of September, October and November. Although November 2016 brought record-high temperatures, Iowa Environmental Mesonet reports that temperatures for last month were near average.

New green restaurant in Des Moines


Photo by uberculture, Flickr

Des Moines’ Big City Burgers and Greens aims to become the greenest restaurant in Iowa. The restaurant’s owner, Jeff Duncan, made it his mission to create a 100% compostable establishment. Every little detail, including compostable garbage bags, has an environmental tilt to it. Radio Iowa reports that Duncan isn’t satisfied, and thinks the restaurant could become more environmentally friendly in the future: Continue reading

“Chickadee Checkoff” donations near record low in Iowa


A Trumpeter Swan. Source: Alan D. Wilson, Wikimedia

It’s easy for Iowans to help protect the state’s wildlife. By simply checking a box on their tax forms, they can donate money to the state’s Fish and Wildlife Fund, which the DNR uses to preserve species like frogs, butterflies, trumpeter swans and bald eagles.

But donations to the fund, commonly dubbed the “Chickadee Checkoff,” have dropped in recent years and now hover near record lows, reports Radio Iowa: Continue reading