Top climate scientist: Illinois has warmed in past 120 years

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The average daily temperature in Illinois is almost two degrees Fahrenheit warmer since the onset of industrialization, according to a top climate scientist.

Dr. Don Wuebbels, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois and former White House expert on climate science, discussed the key findings of the newly released Illinois Climate Assessment at Bradley University on Friday.

He said rain has increased 5-20% across the state. The increased rainfall is keeping daytime temperatures down, but nighttime temperatures up. Nighttime temperatures have risen about three times the rate of daytime temperatures over the past 120 years.

Rainfall also affects erosion in the Illinois River. He said streams can get muddy and become a problem for fishing and transport.

Sherri Morris, chair of the biology department at Bradley University, said its important to localize global issues to engage the audience.

“It’s important to relate to things that are important to people so that they can really pay attention to why the issue is important,” Morris said. “Being able to allow people to relate to those in their everyday lives is really important in terms of them embracing the problem and understanding.”

Morris said new mitigation policies are essential to change the current scenario in terms of increased temperature.

“We’re never going back to the way we were,” she said. “We have to mitigate…and rely on citizens to be good voters.”

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