"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
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine