Climate Change Impacts on Iowa 2010

This report from the Iowa Climate Change Impacts Committee documents the impacts of changing climate on Iowa during the past 50 years.  The report includes an overview of potential climate change impacts to the state of Iowa and policy recommendations for responding to these threats.  The report looks at potential impacts to agriculture, flora and fauna, public health, economy, infrastructure and emergency services are described thoroughly.  The final chapter 'Findings on the Impacts of Climate Change in Iowa' summarizes each of these sectors, and demonstrates the most significant impacts on the state.  

To determine potential impacts to the state, the report relied upon the 2009 National Climate Assessment, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other USGCRP products and reports.  Climate projections for the region include higher annual average temperatures, an increase in extreme precipitation, and an increase in humidity.

Impacts discussed in the report include:

  • Agriculture - temperature changes will increase average growing season, result in changes to crop yields, and facilitate the spread of pathogens and pests; changes in precipitation will affect crop yields, increase runoff and erosion, and degrade water quality.
  • Plants and animals - changes in temperature will result in species shifts; will stress plants, animals and their environments; and will cause the spread of invasive species and possible replacement of native species.
  • Public health - increasing temperatures and more extreme and frequent heat waves will increase death and illness from extreme heat; will increase air pollutants and exacerbate pulmonary and cardiac problems; will increase the transmission of infectious diseases and diseases spread by insects that will thrive in warmer wetter climate; and will increase the prevalence of allergens. Increasing flooding will cause the mobilization of hazardous chemicals, the dissemination of microbial pathogens, and mold contamination in flooded homes and businesses.  
  • Economy, infrastructure, and emergency services - a longer and warmer growing season is expected to increase crop yields but yields could be negatively affected by pests and pathogens and changing rainfall patterns; the insurance industry may benefit from new products and consumers but may be more vulnerable to potential losses; and the costs of disaster services, mitigation, and infrastructure are expected to rise.

In 2007, Governor Culver and the Iowa General Assembly enacted Senate File 485 and House File 2571 to create the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council (ICCAC). The General Assembly enacted a new bill in 2009 (Sec. 27, Section 473.7, Code 2009 amended) that set in motion a review of climate change impacts and policies in Iowa by the ICCAC. This report is the result of that 2009 bill.


Publication Date: January 1, 2011

Related Organizations:

  • Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:


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