Health & Science
2:36 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

U.N. Report Predicts More Midwest Floods Due to Climate Change

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report, released Monday, says the Midwest could experience more flash flooding in coming years.
Credit Courtesy / IPCC.ch

The Midwest is likely to experience more flash floods because of climate change. That’s one of the takeaways from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released Monday. That could affect how cities think about their infrastructure and how farmers manage their crops.

Listen to Gretchen Frazee's story on the implications of a new U.N. climate change report for the Midwest.

Research indicates Indiana and other Midwestern states may not see more rainfall—it will just come in shorter, more intense bursts.

Otto Doering is the director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center and says that could create serious flooding problems if cities don’t have adequate storm water and drainage systems.

“The giant concrete or asphalt around Walmart is going to have to be planned much more carefully or it’s going to overload the sewage system,” Doering said.

It could also create problems for farmers. Less frequent rain isn’t good for crops and heavier rain means more erosion.

Greene County farmer Daniel Warland says he’s already taking steps to improve his soil and prevent erosion.

“First of all, we no-till and then we use cover crops on about half of our land and then we’ve got waterways,” Warland said.

While those practices would help minimize the effects of climate change, Warland says they’re also just good farming practices as long as farmers are willing to make the investment.