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Iowa scientists: Climate change caused the drought

By Staff (CBS News) - November 20, 2012

Scientists are saying that due to climate change caused by greenhouse gases, Iowans should brace themselves for more bad weather like the 2012 drought.

More than 130 scientists from Iowa colleges and universities said in a statement on Monday that this year’s drought is consistent with a warmer climate predicted as part of global climate change, and more droughts can be expected.

“In a warmer climate, wet years get wetter, and dry years get dryer,” Christ Anderson, research assistant professor at the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University, said in a press release. “And dry years get hotter — that is precisely what happened in Iowa this year.”

Scientists and researchers from 27 Iowa colleges and universities signed the Iowa Climate Statement. It says a warming climate causes extremes that lead to more flooding and drought, and Iowa has experienced both in recent years.

The state was hard hit this year when drought spread across two-thirds of the country.

Dave Courard-Hauri, the chair of the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Drake University, said in a press release that climate change like the recent drought is costing Iowans money, and if citizens band together to help solve the problem, it will also help create more jobs and expand the economy.

The scientists say warming will continue as global emissions increase and greenhouse gases accumulate, and they expect a growing number of droughts as soon as the 2020s.