Renewable energy is expanding in the Midwest. As part of a campus-wide initiative to transition to renewable energy sources, in 2017, Michigan State University established five solar carports that have an estimated annual production of 15,000 megawatt hours, representing about 5% of electricity use on campus (Figure 21.1). In addition to reducing carbon emissions, this investment is expected to save the university $10 million over 25 years.42
The chapter lead authors were identified in October 2016, and the author team was recruited in October and November 2016. Authors were selected for their interest and expertise in areas critical to the Midwest with an eye on diversity in expertise, level of experience, and gender. The writing team engaged in conference calls starting in December 2016, and calls continued on a regular basis to discuss technical and logistical issues related to the chapter. The Midwest chapter hosted an engagement workshop on March 1, 2017, with the hub in Chicago and satellite meetings in Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The authors also considered other outreach with stakeholders, inputs provided in the public call for technical material, and incorporated the available recent scientific literature to write the chapter. Additional technical authors were added as needed to fill in the gaps in knowledge.
Takle et al. (2013)65 found that by mid-century, yields of corn and soybean are projected to fall well below projections based on extrapolation of trends since 1970 even under an optimistic economic scenario, with larger interannual variability in yield and total production. Liang et al. (2017)2 report that the ratio of measured agricultural output to measured inputs would drop by an average 3% to 4% per year under medium to high emissions scenarios and could fall to pre-1980 levels by 2050 even when accounting for present rates of innovation. Schauberger et al. (2017)66 found that the impact of exposure to temperatures from 30°C to 36°C projected for the end of the century under RCP8.5 creates yield losses of 49% for maize and 40% for soybean.
The patterns of increased annual precipitation, and the size and frequency of heavy precipitation events in the Midwest, are shown in numerous studies and highlighted in Melillo et al. (2014)27 and Easterling et al. (2017).193 Increases in annual precipitation of 5% to 15% are reported across the Midwest region.193 In addition, both the frequency and the intensity of heavy precipitation events in the Midwest have increased since 1901.193
Flood-related disruptions to Midwest barge and rail traffic in 2013 were documented by several articles in Journal of Commerce, a shipping trade magazine.265,266 WorkBoat, a trade journal of the inland shipping industry, documents that Mississippi River navigation has been halted by flooding in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017. It also documents low river conditions affecting navigation in 2012 and 2015.267,268,269,270,341 Disruptions to rail service caused by the floods of 2017 were documented in news media accounts.342 Changon (2009)343 documents that flooding in 2008 resulted in extensive damage to railroads in Illinois and adjacent states, with costs exceeding $150 million due to direct damage and lost revenue.
The EPA estimated economic costs related to infrastructure and transportation in the Midwest, including costs associated with bridge scour and pavement degradation.28 The use of green infrastructure to reduce impacts associated with heavy precipitation is also documented in gray literature, including municipal planning documents. Using planted areas to absorb rainfall and reduce runoff has become a common approach to storm water management.223,275,276,347,348,349,350 Dechannelization and restoration of streams as a technique for improving storm water management is described in Trice (2013)282 and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District (2017).281 Preservation of open space is described in Ducks Unlimited (2017)279 and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (2016).280 The use of urban forestry as an adaptation method is documented in the Minneapolis Marq2 Project (2017)277 and the Cleveland Tree Plan (2015).278 Projected costs to storm water systems are based on EPA projections.28 781b155fdc