Increase in global warming
Flooded farmers face increasing global warming
Frogs, tents and insects thrived throughout the summer in the murky waters where Gene Walter should have planted corn and soybeans. Last year's ruined crop spilled from metal storage containers that exploded nine months ago when the Missouri River emerged through two levees near its farm southwest of Iowa.
Like many in the Midwest depleted by water, Walter does not know if climate change was responsible for the second major flood in nine years. Or the increasingly frequent torrential rains that shed more water in an hour than I used to see in days.
Even so, "we feel it is the new normal," said Walter, who lost 46,000 bushels of corn and soybeans. "You can't trust anything. You can't build anything. You can't do future planning ... uncertainty is what is really bad."
This year's devastating losses are forcing difficult decisions about the future of agriculture in the US floodplains. UU., Even among climate change skeptics and the role of humans in it.
Farmers who lost billions of dollars in grains, livestock, equipment, structures and unplanted crops are wondering if they should or can return to the fertile lowlands next year.
The US Army Corps of Engineers UU. UU. He must determine how many damaged levees can be rebuilt, but says that not all will be. More than 50 dams broke down alone in the Missouri River, leaving thousands of acres out of production.
And with the ground still soaked in the direction of winter, experts say the stage is set for more floods next spring.
"Much of this land will not be re-produced," said Brett Adams, a farmer from Peru, Nebraska, who saw 2,000 acres (809 hectares), 80 of his land, submerged in up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) of water. "I have seen it first hand upstream and downstream: the land is so shattered by the floods that part of it is completely ruined."
Adams lost more than 100,000 bushels of corn and half a million dollars in potential revenue after six storage containers exploded. But it gets irritated when people ask why it grows in an area that could flood.
"Because it never flooded before," Adams tells them, noting that a dike built in 1950 kept his farm dry during the great floods of 1993 and 2011.
It is very difficult to directly link this year's floods, or any weather event, with climate change. But floods occur when "we are seeing heavy rains and even larger snowfalls that are consistent with what we will see in a warming world," because a warmer atmosphere delivers more water to storm systems, the chief of climate monitoring said. of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Deke Arndt.
The amount of heavy rainfall has increased in much of the United States. UU., Including the Midwest, where days with at least an inch of rain averaged 13 more between 2009 and 2018 than the long-term average dating back to 1950, according to NOAA.
There will also be more severe droughts, experts say, while the rains will be more intense, with more water falling in a shorter period. In addition, the greatest increase in rainfall occurs in the fall, when farmers try to harvest.
The unpredictability "ends up being very bad news for the farms," said Jeffrey S. Dukes, an ecologist who runs the Climate Change Research Center at Purdue University.
Heavy rains and floods kept farmers out of their fields in more than a dozen states this year, the wettest recorded until October in the adjoining United States, and broke up levees along the main waterways that included rivers Arkansas and Mississippi.
In Missouri, the disaster developed after a snowstorm followed by heavy rains that fell on snow and icy soil. Most of the runoff came from tributaries without dams or dams, so the Army Corps had no way to stop the surge and had little time to warn farmers.
"It just completely overwhelmed the dikes downstream," said Matthew Krajewski, head of the prep branch in the Omaha District of the Corps.
Experts say that heavy rains in 2018 set the stage for flooding because the ground was saturated when winter began.