Influencing of Climate Changes on Arkansas
Global climate changes and the accompanying adverse effects are a reality and different regions are already contending with this situation. The State of Arkansas has had its share of these adverse effects with excessive rains in some parts, flooding, and temperatures as high as 120 degrees.
However, the State has not experienced warming during the last 50 years or so; this is expected to change in the coming decades. The climate changes are going to affect the lives of Arkansans significantly.
The prevalence of heavy rainstorms has brought with it unprecedented flooding that is wreaking havoc in parts of Arkansas. Increased precipitation in the Midwest regions will influence river flooding, especially the Mississippi, which runs through Arkansas and could greatly affect the environment and people’s lives. During these heavy rainstorms, there is a dangerous spinoff in the form of runoff water.
Runoff water can be devastating, depending on volume and concentration where it occurs. Tunneled through streets at high speeds, it can sweep off both people and property.
With increased precipitation in Arkansas, this is a threat to residents and the ecosystem. Residents should do their duty by keeping storm drains clear of litter to channel the water safely away. Voluntary storm drain cleaning can be a student’s role in saving the environment.
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Droughts and diminished water resources
It will not always rain and when the rain stops, the next challenge is drought. Projections indicate that this will be the progressive trend in the 21st century ushering in high temperatures and low rainfall.
This will be marked by shorter rain periods that give way to extended and severe droughts. Arkansas is an agricultural State and prolonged droughts will severely affect food security and both individual and state revenues.
The Arkansas River is a vital transport artery for the state, with barges moving freight worth billions from the interior. To keep the water volume up at navigable levels during periods of drought, The Corps of Engineers release controlled flow from dams into the rivers.
Effects on human health
Warmer temperatures have adverse effects on human beings affecting their cardiovascular and nervous systems. People exposed to extreme temperatures are at a high risk of suffering heatstroke and dehydration that are both potentially harmful to life. The more the temperature rises, the less there is clean air to sustain a healthy life.
Another effect of warmer temperatures is the formation of what is called ground-level ozone that is the major component in smog. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), in collaboration with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has been striving to reduce smog ozone concentrations to improve clean air quality.
Prospects in agriculture
Extended droughts are naturally bad for agriculture and livestock. With long and excessively hot summers coupled with diminished water resources, rice and corn yields will drop drastically. This will increase the cost of production if farmers opt for irrigation.
Increased number of days that are above 95 degrees from the current average of about 10 to over 20 will also affect ranches, especially livestock health. However, the bright side of this is the increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which tends to have a fertilizing effect on cotton and soybeans.
Effects on the ecosystem
Heavy rainstorms usually increase the level of pollution in rivers, streams, and lakes. Pollution through runoff stormwater sweeps pollutants along the way into these water bodies.
This pollution and warmer temperatures compromise dissolved oxygen levels necessary for aquatic life in these waters. The effect will lead to diminished fish stocks in water bodies while destroying the recreational qualities in other areas like swimming.
Forests may not be affected much as they thrive in wet conditions. However, long droughts reduce forest regeneration and compound insect damage and diseases besides the threat of spontaneous fires.
Climate changes usually come with negative effects that affect not only the ecosystem but the lives and livelihoods of the people. It is, therefore, important that as citizens, we play our roles in minimizing the escalation of these effects and preserve our environment. To protect the economic mainstays of agriculture, outdoor tourism, timber, and reduce property damage, Arkansans need to live cleaner and greener.
James Collins is a volunteer for an environmental group and working as the lead to hiring student groups for support. He also works as a professional thesis and dissertation editor and writer for a well-known academic service. In his free time, he shoots YouTube videos for his vlog, takes yoga classes and enjoys esports.