Central Iowa Climate Toolbox

This color-coded map in Robinson projection displays a progression of changing global surface temperature anomalies. Normal temperatures are the average over the 30 year baseline period 1951-1980. Higher than normal temperatures are shown in red and lower than normal temperatures are shown in blue. The final frame represents the 5 year global temperature anomalies from 2016-2020. Scale in degrees Fahrenheit. Source: NASA

While the problem can sometimes seem overwhelming, we can turn things around — but we must move beyond climate talk to climate action.

Climate change is a complex issue. Due to its nature as a long-term and seemingly disconnected problems, it is abstract and difficult to tackle. However, the facts are in; Central Iowa is warming, storms are intensifying, and the winds are shifting. Our disasters are becoming more widespread and more common.

Communities and organizations in Central Iowa and around the world are seeking pathways to adapt and mitigate to these changes and increase community resilience. There is no cookie-cutter problem or solution; rather, needs and actions must be based on localized issues, needs, and capacity.

The Central Iowa Climate Toolbox was created with the intent of connecting decision-makers, professional staff, and the general public directly to diverse sources of information they may need as communities and organizations take action on climate issues.

In an effort to assist in all levels of climate action planning (CAP) these resources are organized by the following topics based on current CAP best practices.

Some of the process and content will inevitably be new as these subjects continue to unfold, to aid with this MPO staff will be available to help communities familiarize themselves with the platforms and information below.

If you would like assistance navigating, if what you need is not found here, or if you have a tool you’d like to add to the box, please be sure to reach out to Allison van Pelt.

Now, let’s get started.

books in black wooden book shelf

Climate Action Planning Foundations

Weather refers to short-term conditions while climate is the weather of a specific region averaged over a long period of time. Climate change refers to long-term changes and new weather normals.

two white printer papers near macbook on brown surface

Des Moines Metro Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Library

In 2021, the Des Moines Area MPO joined ICLEI-USA as a regional affiliate. This membership allowed MPO staff access to a greenhouse gas accounting software – ClearPath. Throughout 2021, MPO staff worked with agencies within each emissions sector to collect and analyze energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The following is the result of this effort.

EV Readiness

Iowa DOT Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan and more

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Adaptation Strategies

Flood protections like levees, Tiny Trees, Rain Campaign, Safe Routes to School & Complete/Green Streets – all are forms of adaptation. Each uniquely touches on the multi-dimensional needs of a community, organization, or region.

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Mitigation Strategies

What a community or organization may choose to do to reduce their emissions is based on their varying capacity. MPO staff is available to help work through custom mitigation measures.

roofs of residential houses in flooded town

Hazards, Risks, and Vulnerabilities

To better understand how to prepare for and adapt to the changing climate, this webpage will connect you with information to aid in the understanding of how hazards, risks, and vulnerabilities can be identified and addressed.

men standing in a warehouse talking

Greenhouse Gas Inventories

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are one of the major driving forces of our changing climate. Reducing these emissions is imperative to taking effective climate action as it identifies baseline metrics and priority areas a community or organization looking to reduce their footprint should efforts on.

graph and line chart printed paper

Past, Present, & Future Climate Data

In order to know what climate actions a community or organization take, understanding past, current, and future climate conditions is key. Provided below are snapshots and data pertinent to Central Iowa and links directly to some of the foremost climate data sources for ease of access.