Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Iowa State researchers work to track North American climate change

08.08.2007
Gene Takle begins talks about climate change with some strong statements.

"There is no question now that the climate is changing on a global scale," says Takle, an Iowa State University professor of geological and atmospheric sciences and agronomy. "The evidence is so overwhelming."

But what does that mean on a smaller scale? How are greenhouse gases changing the climate in North America? In the United States? In Iowa?

After all, "You and I are not affected by a few tenths of a degree of temperature change on a global scale," Takle said.

Takle is working with Bill Gutowski, an Iowa State professor of geological and atmospheric sciences, and Ray Arritt, an Iowa State professor of agronomy, to find some answers about regional climate change.

The three have worked together on climate studies for 15 years. And now they've joined an international group of scientists collaborating on the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program. The assessment program is led by Linda Mearns, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. The National Science Foundation is funding the Iowa State work on the project with a $353,000 grant.

The project calls for six teams of researchers (four from the United States, including the Iowa State group, one from Canada and one from Europe) to run their own regional climate models using at least two sets of identical data from two research groups studying global climate change. The research groups will see what their models say about regional climate change and compare the results. Ultimately, the researchers will create data sets that will help them study the impacts of climate change on a continental or even statewide scale.

Takle said the Iowa State research team has looked at Iowa climate data from 1975 to 2000 and observed some trends:

Annual precipitation has increased by about an inch over the past 30 years.

More of that precipitation is happening in extreme weather events. In other words, Takle said, there are more 3-inch rains than there were 30 years ago.

Winter low temperatures aren't as cold. Takle said that means there are about eight more frost-free days than there were in the 1950s. That makes for a longer growing season.

The summer heat isn't as intense as it was 30 years ago, but the humidity is rising.

If those trends continue, Takle said climate change in the American Midwest could be good for agriculture over the next 10 to 20 years. But researchers are looking for more answers as they develop their regional climate models and run their computer simulations.

The research teams started working on the climate change assessment program about 18 months ago. The first task was to develop methods to manage and share data.

Gutowski said the research groups have moved on to testing their models by running them with climate data from 1979 to 2004 and comparing the results to what actually happened. He said the models represent conditions in the middle of the atmosphere very well, but have a harder time showing the distribution of summer rains.

The research groups are now preparing to use data from global climate models to run climate simulations for the years 2040 to 2070.

Arritt said the results of those simulations will give researchers a good idea about the range of possibilities for climate change across North America. He also said it's a tremendous boost for researchers to work with six different climate models and multiple sets of data.

"As you know, no simulation or forecast is perfect," he said. "By running a lot of different simulations we can see how wide the window is."

And then researchers can look at averaging the results to get a more reliable forecast of what kind of climate North Americans can expect by mid-century, Arritt said.

The models could have something to say about Iowa's weather, too.

The Iowa State team is working with a model that has grid points every 30 miles, Takle said. That works out to about one point per Iowa county. That should provide a pretty good picture of the state's future climate.

And that's some valuable information for all of us.

"If the climate is changing, you can't stop it over the next 50 years," Takle said. "What's coming is coming and we better be prepared to adjust to it."

Gene Takle | Iowa State University
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>