Iowa Agriculture in Consideration of Climate Change

By Kevin Kilty – Re-Blogged From WUWT

A recent article in Physics Today[1] presents use of regional climate modeling in forecasting how climate change might impact agriculture in the U.S. Midwest. This guest blog offers a summary of this effort, and makes additional observations.

Introduction

The introduction makes a case that Iowa is a proxy for the Midwest itself, and that agricultural productivity in the Midwest is very important to the national and global food supply. It is clear that climate conditions in Iowa have improved markedly for selected crops since the 1980’s. One may find supporting evidence in the changing agricultural practices of farmers. However, the authors argue that this present “Goldilocks” period cannot last, and that by mid-21st century climate change could decrease Midwest agricultural productivity back to 1980s levels. This dire warning comes by way of the Fourth National Climate Assessment made in 2018. David Middleton has poked fun at this assessment.

Average annual precipitation in Iowa 1981-2010. Note the 50% gradient northwest to southeast across the state. Figure from reference [3].

Average annual precipitation in Iowa 1981-2010. Note the 50% gradient northwest to southeast across the state. Figure from reference [3].

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