Impacts of Global Climate Change on Temperature and Precipitation Patterns in the Midwest and the Consequences for Soils

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Impacts of Global Climate Change on Temperature and Precipitation Patterns in the Midwest and the Consequences for Soils Introduction During the last century, human activities in agriculture, industry and technology have brought about a change in the chemical composition of the atmosphere. This change so far has not had a noticeable or discernible effect on world climate, but if these same activities continue, global climate change will become irreversible. The major contributing factor is the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide and other gasses in the atmosphere. These gasses are being cited as the cause for a "greenhouse effect" where they trap the heat of the sun and cause global climate change, specifically a warming trend…show more content…
One of particular concern is the possible changes in soils. With a changing climate and atmosphere, the soils, as well as the vegetation, of the Midwest would have to adapt to the new conditions. Continuous Warming The most direct effect of the atmospheric changes will most likely be a worldwide increase in average annual temperature. The magnitude of the changes will vary within regions. For the Midwestern area of North America, the consensus for temperature increase is one degree Celsius within the next twenty years and then approximately one degree every twenty five years after that, or an average of 0.3 degrees warmer per decade (Anderson, 1992). This is a considerable increase from the average temperature increase in the last 1000 years, which has been 0.005 degrees Celsius per decade (Ritchie, 1986). The implications for the soils, therefore, are considerable. Soils are constantly changing and developing and in the past, slow climate change has been taken into account in this development. However, the rapid temperature increases that are predicted will be much more extreme than the soils are accustomed to. Therefore, soil development will not be able to keep pace with the changes , and the soils will be forced into disequilibrium with the surrounding climate (Rozanov and Samoilova 1990). Shifting Precipitation Patterns The predictions for changes in precipitation vary more widely than those

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