Iowa scientists warn humidity rising due to climate change

“Uncomfortable humidity, water‐logged spring soils, extreme rain events, mold, and mosquitoes are all expected to become more prevalent in Iowa due to a rarely discussed impact of climate change: increased humidity,” 190 scientists at academic institutions warned last week. In the sixth annual Iowa Climate Statement, science faculty and researchers from 39 colleges and universities noted that “Increases in humidity have been measured across the Midwest and in Iowa across all seasons and at all long‐term monitoring stations.”

High levels of humidity create hazardous conditions for Iowa workers and sensitive populations through the danger of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Allergic rhinitis and asthma are worsened by heightened exposures to mold and dust mite allergens in humid environments. There also is evidence for increased aggression and societal violence associated with hot, humid weather.

For Iowa agriculture, increased warm‐season humidity leads to increased rainfall, extreme rain events, water‐logged soils during planting season, soil erosion, and runoff of chemicals to waterways. Rising humidity also leads to longer dew periods and higher moisture conditions that elevate costs of drying grain and increase populations of many pests and pathogens harmful to both growing plants and stored grain. Increased nighttime temperatures coupled with humidity causes stress to crops, livestock and pets and, in extreme cases, heat stress can cause loss of life.

I enclose below the full text of this year’s Iowa Climate Statement, with references, along with the news release highlighting key findings. You can view the names and academic affiliations all who signed here.

P.S.-The Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research at the University of Iowa, which has coordinated the release of the Climate Impact Statement, is set to lose much of its funding in 2022. This spring, Republican legislators approved and Governor Terry Branstad signed into law a bill eliminating a small tax on investor-owned utilities, which has supported the CGRER and the Iowa Energy Center at Iowa State University for 25 years.

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Ross Wilburn makes eight Iowa Democratic candidates for governor

Ross Wilburn joined the field of Democratic candidates for governor today, promising to focus on health, education, and economic opportunity. In a news release enclosed in full below, the former Iowa City mayor and city council member said he would govern in an inclusive way, drawing on skills gained through community work and service in local government. He pledged to listen and build consensus, “bringing together sometimes disparate interests,” as opposed to the “fighting” and “divisions” often seen in Iowa politics at the state level.

Wilburn’s campaign is on the web at justbeiowa.com, on Twitter @letsbeiowa, and on Facebook at Ross Wilburn for Governor.

In alphabetical order, the other Democratic candidates for Iowa governor are:

Nate Boulton (website, Twitter, Facebook)
Cathy Glasson (website, Twitter, Facebook)
Fred Hubbell (website, Twitter, Facebook)
Andy McGuire (website, Twitter, Facebook)
Jon Neiderbach (website, Twitter, Facebook)
John Norris (website, Twitter, Facebook)
Todd Prichard (website, Twitter, Facebook)

Glasson is technically still in the exploratory phase, but she has hired campaign staff and spoken to audiences around the state this summer, including the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame event last month.

Supporters are welcome to submit commentaries here advocating for candidates in Democratic primaries. Please read Bleeding Heartland’s guidelines for guest authors before writing.

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Meet Austin Frerick, who may run for Congress in IA-03

“This is what I think Democrats need to be talking about,” wrote Austin Frerick yesterday, sharing the link to his latest guest column in the Des Moines Register: “To save rural Iowa, we must end Monsanto’s monopoly.”

Frerick has been warning for some time that economic concentration, especially in the agricultural sector, hurts rural Iowa. He has also highlighted lack of competition and little-known pharmaceutical company practices that keep drug costs inflated, so powerful corporations can overcharge Medicare under the guise of helping sick people.

He may soon be raising those and other issues as a Democratic candidate in Iowa’s third Congressional district.

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What no one is talking about in the "repeal and replace" debate

An Iowan with in-depth knowledge of the health care sector looks at lesser-known benefits that could be lost if Congress replaces the Affordable Care Act. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The debate on Republican efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care reform law has focused on the provision of health care and the repeal of some taxes. In particular, attention has been directed at the effort to reduce Medicaid coverage.

What isn’t being discussed: the Affordable Care Act (ACA) included many provisions aimed at addressing serious issues in the health care system, such as quality, safety, and workforce shortages. None of those can be found in the House-approved American Health Care Act (AHCA) or the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), proposed by Senate Republican leaders.

So, in addition to reducing (or eliminating) coverage for poor people and individuals with illnesses, the Republican bill would be a step backward in terms of efforts to improve the health care system, which accounts for 17 percent of our gross domestic product.

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Jon Jacobsen will represent Iowa House district 22

Republican candidate Jon Jacobsen, an attorney and former weekly radio host, won yesterday’s special election to represent Iowa House district 22 with 1,069 votes, about 44 percent, according to final unofficial results. Carol Forristall, who filed as an independent candidate after losing at the GOP special nominating convention, placed second with 803 votes (33 percent).

Almost all of the 465 write-in votes (19 percent) were presumably for the Democratic candidate Ray Stevens, who failed to submit his nominating papers on time. The Pottawattamie County Auditor’s Office will confirm the write-in results today, Mike Brownlee reported for the Omaha World-Herald. Libertarian Bryan Jack Holder received 98 votes (4 percent) in the special election.

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Weekend open thread: Short-sighted elected officials edition

Who knew that when you tell a state agency leader to save another $1.3 million somehow, he might cut some important programs and services? Not State Representative Dave Heaton, the Republican chair of the Iowa legislature’s Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

Who knew that when you impeach a mayor using a kangaroo court proceeding, a judge might order the mayor reinstated while her appeal is pending? Not Muscatine City Council members.

Follow me after the jump for more on those stories. This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

I’m also interested to know what readers think about Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen’s request to waive certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act in order to bring Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield back to Iowa’s individual insurance market for 2018. Elements of the “stopgap” measure violate federal law; health care law expert Timothy Jost told the Des Moines Register’s Tony Leys that some parts of Ommen’s proposal are “extremely problematic” and not likely “doable.” Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Anna Wilde Mathews and Louise Radnofsky saw the Iowa developments as “a key test of the ability to modify the [Affordable Care Act] through executive authority.” Slate’s Jordan Weissmann agreed.

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