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Edge of Ag News

UW researchers add to climate report

The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts earlier in the year released its 2021 climate assessment report. Wisconsin’s Changing Climate: Impacts and Solutions for a Warmer Climate addresses the effect of climate change in Wisconsin. It includes details on the continued warming and increased precipitation throughout the state.

Led by the University of Wisconsin-Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the report is the product of 14 working groups. Numerous scientists from the UW-College of Agricultural and Life Sciences were involved.

Statewide temperatures since 1950 have warmed by 3 degrees Fahrenheit and precipitation has increased 17 percent. The past two decades have been the warmest on record, and the past decade has been the wettest.

The report stresses the need for significant and rapid reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. It identifies steps Wisconsin can take to store carbon, reduce emissions, and adapt to wetter, warmer conditions.

The primary impacts of climate change to Wisconsin agriculture include increased warming in the spring and fall; increased temperatures during winter and summer; increased precipitation; and increased frequency of extreme-weather events such as heavy rainfall.

The report noted that Wisconsin needs to adapt land-use and land-management strategies that decrease agriculture’s greenhouse-gas emissions, promote soil carbon sequestration, and increase agriculture’s resiliency.

Possible strategies to accomplish this are increasing continuous living cover on agricultural land; avoiding conversion of grasslands and other natural landscapes to row crop production and/or development; improving manure management to reduce liquid manure storage; and increasing nitrogen-use efficiency. Visit for more information.

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