As Climate Changes, Counties Plan For New Weather Patterns
By Shamane Mills
Monday, July 1, 2013, 3:42pm
Projections say that Dane County's recent warm, wet weather may be more prevalent in years to come. The area is one of a handful planning for the effects of climate change.
Last week, Dane County held the first of three community forums examining potential ways to deal with extreme weather. For instance, more rain could necessitate bigger culverts so roads don't flood. Manfred Enburg is a Town of Verona supervisor who attended the climate change meeting. Enburg said he appreciates the forward thinking of the county executive.
"A lot of times what happens is, you get a big rain event or something like that and that's when all - shall we say - h, e, double-l breaks loose, when you talk about zoning or planning or other things like that. So it's one of those areas we are very interested in."
Gradual but steady patterns have been recorded by University of Wisconsin scientists as part of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts. Their report projects that the number of hot days above 90 degrees will increase and the growing season will get longer. David Liebel is a UW Extension stormwater specialist. He says farmers have already begun to adapt.
"When I speak to an agricultural audience with farmers in the audience - especially older farmers - and ask them if they notice that the growing season has changed in Wisconsin - our statistics show that it's increased by almost four weeks - almost all agree they've had to change farming practices and the varieties they plant."
Dane County's Council on Climate Change is expected to have a report ready by September with proposals on how to cope with extreme weather.
The forums are open to the public; the first was held last week in Verona, with the next two in the coming weeks: