KGAN-TV: Researchers Concerned about Iowa Climate

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Many Johnson County residents are breathing a slight sigh of relief after this year's flood wasn't nearly as bad as initially predicted.

Still, this year has become marked by severe weather events. Iowa flood researchers say that the events could become the "new normal" if changes aren't made soon. For example, in 2011, the Missouri River was at flood stage for more than 100 days. In 2012, floods were followed by a severe drought.

Larry Weber, director at IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering at the University of Iowa, says that politicians and the public need to step up and start making changes to curb carbon emissions.

"The connection between climate change and these extreme events is real. And when we start seeing rainfall that is 10, 12, 14 inches of rain that happens with the intensity and the duration that it does and over the widespread nature that it does, that's beyond normal variability and storm events," says Weber.

Weber says change will come slowly but in the interim, people who respond to extreme weather say they're getting smarter and faster with better communication this year.