Over the past few decades, Iowa’s agriculture has experienced a period of consistently high yields. The perfect distribution and timing of humidity, rainfall and heat have led to bumper crops of corn and soybeans. This “Goldilocks” period is partly due to global warming, but experts believe farmers shouldn’t expect it to last.
In an article from Physics Today’s February issue, “Iowa’s agriculture is losing its Goldilocks climate,” scientists Eugene Takle and William Gutowski describe the challenges farmers could expect to see to maintaining high yields if global warming continues along predicted trends.
The wet spring weather that flooded Iowa rivers and hampered the planting of crops follows trends noted in last year’s National Climate Assessment, said an Iowa State University agronomist who studies climate.
The 2018 National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report issued every four years, detailed a number of trends relevant to the Midwest when it was released last November. A national team of climate experts produced the assessment, drawing on the most recent climate science to describe how global climate change could affect human and societal welfare.