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NWF: Global Warming Partly to Blame for all the Rain

July 13, 2009

WASHINGTON – It has been a summer of intense thunderstorms in Missouri, bringing with them flooding along the Meramec River and elsewhere. According to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), global warming is partly to blame.

Amanda Staudt, Ph.D., is a climate scientist with NWF and author of the report. She says warmer air can hold more moisture, which means that even heavier precipitation can be expected in years to come.

"In the Midwest and the Northeast, for example, by the end of the century those big storms that historically would only be seen once every 20 years are projected to happen as often as every four to six years."

Staudt says now is the time to move toward cleaner energy in order to avoid effects of global warming such as severe flooding. In Missouri, she suggests, important steps to take would include discouraging development in areas of high flood risk and protecting the natural systems, such as wetlands, that help to buffer against floods.

Staudt points to recorded shifts in snowfall patterns, in the onset of spring and in the way river ice is melting - all factors that can increase flood risk.

"Now that we realize that global warming will bring more flooding risks in the future, we need to make better choices about how we manage the landscape in these flood-prone areas."

Additional information is available at

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO