Midwest Climate Impacts

Increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels are associated with changes in both temperature and precipitation. In the Midwest, rising temperatures are harmful to human health, increasing the risk of both heat-related illness and respiratory illness. Rising temperatures place additional stress on bridges and pavements. Rising temperatures are also harmful to agriculture and biodiversity.

In the St. Louis region in recent decades, there has been an increase in the number of days with an inch or more of rain. These events cause flash floods, basement backups, and temporary road closures. There has also been an increase in winter and spring precipitation in the upper Midwest, which is associated with riverine flooding. As with changes in temperature, changes in precipitation are also detrimental to agriculture and biodiversity. To find out more about how climate change is affecting the Midwest, see the Midwest Chapter of the Fourth National Climate Assessment.

The good news is that U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have declined since 2005. In addition, the cost of producing alternative energy such as solar and wind have fallen dramatically since 2010. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that maintaining emission-intensive systems may be more expensive than transitioning to low emission options. Find out how you can take action on climate change using available funding and incentives here.