Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Expect heat, intense storms and more drought, say Kansas University scientists in climate change report

Lawrence Journal-World & News (Kansas): Higher temperatures, more intense storms and increased drought will plague Kansas this century because of rising carbon dioxide emissions, according to a study by Kansas University scientists that was released Tuesday. The study details numerous dangers posed by climate change and should serve as a warning and prompt new policies that reduce CO2 emissions, the scientists said.

“What’s important to remember — these are projections,” said Johannes Feddema, a geography professor who is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The study by Feddema and KU’s Nathaniel Brunsell, also a geography professor, was done for the Salina-based Land Institute’s Climate and Energy Project.

By 2100, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase as projected, temperatures in Kansas will rise an average of 2 degrees to 4 degrees, the study said. Southwest Kansas could see an increase of 8 degrees. By 2060, winter temperatures will stay mostly above freezing. That means more insects, diseases, and the need for farmers to increase the use of costly pesticides, the scientists concluded. Higher summertime temperatures will also hurt crops and livestock and increase the need for irrigation.

Climate change will also cause more extreme weather patterns, including intense rain and flooding, but because of higher temperatures, soil moisture will decrease, and that means more intense drought. “What hurts Kansas also hurts the nation,” the report said. “Climate change will increase stress on America’s breadbasket, risking our food security.”…

A still from The Wizard of Oz, while Dorothy is still in Kansas

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