Series: Extreme Precipitation And Wisconsin's Climate

Climate change is already beginning to affect Wisconsin in subtle but important ways. As the average global temperature creeps upward, climatologists have projected that the upper Midwest will experience heavier precipitation. This shift means not just a greater volume of water in the form of rain or snow, but also more intense storms happening more frequently. While climate change on its own isn't necessarily the culprit behind a given storm, its effects can intensify existing weather patterns and make long-running climatic cycles more unpredictable. While researchers work to understand how climate change interacts with seasonal cycles like El Niño and how human activities affect the outcome of catastrophic floods, communities across the state face new challenges protecting people, infrastructure and their economy.
 
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What are the challenges several northwest Wisconsin counties face from extreme precipitation? WisContext associate editor Will Cushman and former Northland College professor Randy Lehr discuss the growing costs flooding poses to public infrastructure.
Massive rainstorms hit northwest Wisconsin in 2012, 2016 and 2018, causing tens of millions of dollars in flood damage to public infrastructure. Local officials responsible for rebuilding hope they're able to make improvements to withstand more big storms when they come.
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As Wisconsin sweats in the midst of a July heatwave, a report shows that global warming could lead to a jump in dangerous high summer temperatures in the state. UW Nelson Institute for Climatic Research researcher Michael Notaro discusses the study and what it means.
As recently as 2013, water levels on most of the Great Lakes were very low. But since 2014 the issue has been too much water, not too little.
People often recount the floods in living memory. August 2018 will be remembered for record-breaking floods that brought devastation throughout the Driftless Area.
Very little is known about the smallest tributaries that flow into Lake Superior.
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Is a big-box store like Costco the best or worst place to get stuck in a natural disaster?
While efforts after August 2018 storms focused on cleaning up and limiting flooding, Madison will need to address its vulnerability to extreme rainfall if it wants to prepare for the future.
After yet another summer of dangerous and destructive flooding, from Ino to Madison to Coon Valley, Wisconsinites seem more ready than ever to discuss how climate change is affecting the state.
Human activities and intense precipitation drive nutrients into water sources that help support the growth of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. Paul Dearlove of the Clean Lakes Alliance discusses some of its dangers and how to mitigate exposure.