(Farmington) Missouri farmers will not be surprised to hear that 2019 was one of the wettest on record and some experts predict the impacts of climate change on agriculture will only get worse.
Karin Gleason is a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
She says all data indicate that extreme weather events such as last year’s floods, along with periods of prolonged drought, are here to stay.
In Missouri, 1-point-2 million acres of land were affected by flooding in 2019.
Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst contends that with flooding events becoming more frequent, weaknesses in flood-control structures must be addressed to protect farms and communities.
Gleason and her colleagues at NOAA are monitoring changes in weather patterns and are making their data available for farmers.
She says looking back at historical rainfall averages, and days of drought, and how those averages are changing can help farmers adjust their strategies and adapt.
Gleason says extreme precipitation events are becoming heavier and more frequent.
She explains that as global temperatures rise, more water evaporates from the land and oceans, leading to stronger downpours which increase the likelihood of flooding.
The easiest way to tap into NOAA’s climate data is through its interactive tool, “Climate at a Glance,” which can be found at ncdc.noaa.gov.