Dangers of climate change to Saginaw Valley

About 250 researchers, government officials, farmers and citizens gathered at Saginaw Valley State University today. They’re talking about changes to the rivers, lakes, farms and cities around Saginaw Bay.

BY: Chris McCarus, Michigan Now

INTRO: About 250 researchers, government officials, farmers and citizens gathered at Saginaw Valley State University today. They’re talking about changes to the rivers, lakes, farms and cities around Saginaw Bay. And everyone around the Great Lakes has reason for concern.  Michigan Now’s Chris McCarus is there.

In the last 30 years, the air has gotten a degree and a half warmer. In the next 40 years, precipitation will increase by 6 inches. This is according to Dr. David Lusch from Michigan State University’s Department of Geography and the Institute of Water Research.

“You’re gonna see that it’s the timing of the precipitation and whether the result of the precipitation is being stored for longer term use by infiltrating and building our ground water or whether it’s being lost for immediate use by run off.”

Dr. Lusch is part of the chorus of experts who’re charting climate change. More fertilizer from farms and  suburban lawns will drain faster and harder into rivers and out into the Great Lakes. They’ll choke the lakes with algae. Evaporation will lower lake levels. Says Lusch:

“We’re anticipating a decline in the duration and thickness of winter ice. Duh. Did anybody get out ice fishing this year? It was hazardous at best.”

And climate change is affecting agriculture, Michigan’s second largest industry.

“Warmer temperatures, if you’re in the livestock industry, warmer temperatures are likely going to suppress your livestock’s appetites, decrease their weight gain and if you’re in the dairy industry, extreme heat also diminishes productivity of dairy cattle. We’re thinking that this part of Michigan will feel like southern Ohio by mid-century.”

So if you’re raising, chickens, hogs or cows they might need air-conditioning. That means, the price of food will go up. The speakers today are sounding alarm bells. But they don’t say the situation is hopeless. Every citizen can help fight climate change. You can start by reducing your use of fossil fuels.

http://www.michigannow.org/2012/03/16/dangers-of-climate-change-to-saginaw-valley/

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