Central Iowa Climate Toolbox: Executive Summary

“In 1991, climate scientists believed that climate change in the Midwest would lead to a warmer, wetter climate, including warmer winters and more rain in spring and early summer. They were right.

Now U.S. climate scientists are projecting that by mid-century, 5-day heat wave temperatures in Iowa will increase by about 7 degrees Fahrenheit for the average year and by 13 degrees Fahrenheit once per decade compared to heat waves in the late 20th century. Currently, the Iowa average annual 5-day maximum temperature during a heat wave is in the range of 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientists also suggest that the strongest rainfall events of the year (annual maximum daily widespread precipitation) covering areas as large as a third of Iowa are projected to double in intensity (daily total rainfall) by mid-century, with most of this change coming before 2025.”

The UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, Iowa Climate Statement (2018)

Highlights from the statement
– By midcentury, temperatures in Iowa will exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit 67 days per year, compared to a 23‐day
average in recent decades.
– By midcentury, the average daily high temperature for each year’s hottest five‐day period will be 98 degrees,
compared to 92 degrees in recent decades.
– Once per decade, five‐day average high temperature will be 105 degrees.
– Extreme heat is the leading weather‐related cause of death in the U.S.. Low‐income neighborhoods, the elderly,
outdoor workers (especially construction and farm labor) and domestic animals are especially vulnerable.
– Confined livestock are at increased risk for death and widespread productivity loses. Producers will need to
adjust their operations to deal with extreme heat events.
– Adaptations to increasing heat waves will require expanded disaster prepar

  1. Local governments are at the forefront of adapting to climate change.
  2. Land use is a primary determinant of community and regional climate change adaptation capacity.
  3. Climate change data must be formatted and distributed in a way that is accessible and usable by state and local planners.
  4. Local and state planners need to increase skill sets to effectively use climate change data.
  5. Federal and state programs should create incentives that will improve the use of climate change data, including in the production of hazard mitigation plans.
  6. Communities need to integrate planning processes, specifically hazard mitigation and comprehensive land use planning.
  7. Federal and state programs and policies should give communities incentives to integrate planning processes, specifically
    hazard mitigation and comprehensive land use planning, and to incorporate no-regrets adaptation measures to produce
    symbiotic outcomes.
  8. Federal agencies should align and leverage funding and focus on pre-disaster planning for community resilience and sustainability.
  9. Investment decisions should take a regional perspective and be integrated across infrastructure types and sectors to realize