Report: Wisconsin faces droughts, pests as climate changes

The record-setting heat during the summer of 1988 could become the norm in Wisconsin if steps aren't taken to curb emissions that cause global warming, according to a new report.

Hotter summers and increased flooding caused by heavier rainfall are among the extreme consequences the Union of Concerned Scientists found in a study of the impact of climate change on the Badger State.

Wisconsin also would experience long droughts, more smog-filled days, a possible increase in crop-destroying pests and up to a 2-foot drop in Great Lakes water levels.

The Wisconsin report is part of an ongoing effort by the advocacy group to examine how climate change would affect different regions. The current effort looks at eight Midwestern states — Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Ohio.

The combined emissions in those states are double the output in the United Kingdom and would make the Midwest the world’s fourth largest polluter if it were a nation, the report said.

Already, changes in the Midwest climate are taking root.

"Over the past 50 years, we've seen higher average annual temperatures, more frequent downpours, longer growing seasons and fewer cold snaps," said Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University and a co-author of the report.

Read the rest of the story at Appleton Post-Crescent