Climate change in MN: icy roads, wheezing, rattlesnakes?

Minnesota’s first statewide conference asking how we should adapt to a changing climate took place Thursday in St. Paul.

The conference kicked off with a long list of possible impacts, as predicted by experts from sectors ranging from public health to agriculture to transportation.

I’ve compiled a (not comprehensive) list of their examples, with a brief explanation for each. Also check out MPR meteorologist  Paul Huttner’s takeaway from the conference.

Hearing ‘wintry mix’ more on the weather report: Snowfall totals are expected to decline in Minnesota in the coming decades. With more days in which temperatures hover above freezing, we’re likely to see more of that rain/slush/snow mix, says University of Minnesota climatologist Peter Snyder.

Icy roads in winter: The frequency of rain/snow mix events makes plowing the roads more difficult, Minnesota Department of Transportation planner Phillip Schaffner says. With snow, you just send out the plows. With freezing rain, you have to time the chemical treatment of the roads just right.

Pavement buckling in summer: Heat and humidity can cause pavement to expand, and that sometimes leads to buckling without warning. Such incidents have held up traffic on Twin Cities interstates in recent years.

Sneezing, wheezing, asthma: A warmer climate means people who suffer from seasonal allergies might have to deal with them longer, and they could be more severe. The Minnesota Department of Health says for some that leads to asthma.

Rattlesnakes? Well, maybe. University of Minnesota professor Larry Baker says rattlesnakes are a personal phobia, but he used them to demonstrate to conference attendees that the changing climate will attract species that don’t currently live in Minnesota. And the ranges where native species are found may change. Baker said there are likely many climate change impacts we just don’t know about yet.

Trout anglers switch to muskie? The changing climate has implications for water quality in Minnesota’s lakes and streams. Lucinda Johnson, of the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute, says some species, such as trout, may not do as well.

Tick and mosquito-borne illnesses: These illnesses are already on the rise, and health officials say climate change may explain an explosion of ticks, especially in northern Minnesota.

Less heat, more AC: Hotter summers are causing more people to run their air conditioners, or install them for the first time. In the winter, many Minnesotans are using less heat. So will these trends increase the state’s energy use or decrease it? That’s an interesting question to ponder.

Boundary Waters becomes savannah: Scientists like Lee Frelich of the University of Minnesota predict northern Minnesota’s forests will continue to suffer in a warmer climate. He advocates intervention including controlling invasive species, managing the deer population and using fire to restore forests.

Drinking water odor or bad taste: A warmer climate could cause more algae growth, altering water quality. Treatment systems can’t always get rid of it.

  • redeoarknot

    false flag! All bull shit we can’t predict the weather the next day how in the hell do they know what it will be in 10 years. Oh just like the do the it on TV 10% possibility which means it could or could not. But we are risking millions and peoples lives on this bull shit predictions.

  • Druenny Tesla

    These are all things we had 30 years ago and more. Nothing has changed. Yes, Minnesota has Timber rattlesnakes, go up in the park rapids area. Minnesota had mild weather in the days of Laura Ingalls and blizzards which were made worse because they did not have cellphones or vehicles with snow plows. She had christmas one year on a outdoor picnic table. I myself am a native from Minnesota, but I work in Antarctica where the last 4 years has grown ice by 31%.

    We do know, that the earth temps should warm up some. We are basically coming out of the earths ice age, which started roughly 13,122 years ago. Minnesota has been frozen and tropical four separate times, or one could say four separate glacial events. Back when the mammoth, woolly rhino, and, saber tooth tiger still roamed the earth. It is natural that things are going to warm up. Before the ice age, Minnesota’s typical temperature was around 110-115F degrees during summer, when Minnesota still had the Hadrosaurs dinosaur.

    We also know, that the great pyramid of Giza had a shipping harbor only a few hundred feet from it. Where boats have been found still docked under today’s sand. The reason why the harbor is inland so far is, back in their time. That was the ocean’s water line. They did not have north or south poles with ice. The ocean water levels were much higher than today. Back then today’s Florida and parts New York and California would have been under water. Someone obviously traveled by ship in those times, because we have maps that were drawn of Antarctica before it had ice. If you take today’s satellite image of Antarctica and lay it over the map they drawn. They match up identical. So someone was at Antarctica long before it had ice. The detail liked the mountains and lake which is under 1,600 ft of ice. Could have not been guessed in it’s exact location without being there and seeing it.

    So this global warming is a bunch of hype that it should not be. These are not man made, and would occur even if man never lived. We need to look at other things that cause warming. Like volcanoes on land and in the sea. Solar sun storms, which started dying down in 2011. Where a solar flares from the sun is hitting the earth and knocking out power grids. We get solar alerts all the time from the weather centers. We need to look more into fresh water than earth temps. Earth temps are irrelevant and are on key for what it is suppose to be doing. Going back to it’s natural state. Ice age is not it’s natural state. Not for Minnesota anyways.