Weather extremes could become more common in West Central Illinois according to a draft report of the national climate assessment.
The Global Change Research Act requires a report to be done every four years. A draft of the report was recently compiled by several federal agencies. A final report is due later this year.
National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Miller says the report indicates the Midwest is likely to see more warm days during the year, but also an increase in severe weather events.
“We’re anticipating high-impact type of weather,” says Miller. “Mainly things like more heat waves and higher precipitation events. I know in Jacksonville it wasn’t too long ago you had a pretty significant flood almost two years ago. So, it’s that type of event that we’re seeing more and more of that we need to plan for in the future.”
Miller says the report doesn’t indicate extreme weather events are certainly going to happen, but it’s meant to help the public prepare for worst-case scenarios.
“It’s to be used by U. S. citizens, communities, businesses so that they can create a plan for the future,” says Miller. “Kind of like if we end up in a worst-case scenario, how would that impact agriculture or transportation? That way people can be ready ahead of time years before something like this could possibly happen.”
Miller says the report indicates changing climate trends are caused by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which isn’t all bad for some crops because it results in higher yields and longer growing seasons.
“However, with extreme events like with the drought we just experienced last year, or with heavy rainfall, that’s when you start to run into problems with agricultural production, not only for growing but also for livestock,” says Miller. “We could also be looking at degraded soil conditions with extreme precipitation. So, really what the advice in the draft is that agricultural interests really need to try to, at least, plan for this and increase the innovations so we can adapt to some of these changes that might occur.”
You can check out the report on the web by going to globalchange.gov.