Conservation Minnesota

Climate Change Weather Patterns Disarming

Minnehaha Creek earlier this summer.

Minnehaha Creek earlier this summer.

Unlike the droughts that are plaguing California, Texas and other parts of the West, Minnesotans know very well how “water rich” we are this summer. The lush greenery of our foliage and the high water marks of our lakes and rivers have made us more weather-conscious this season.

If you love waterfalls, as most of us do, they’ve been spectacular this summer. In the metro area, St. Anthony Falls is like a mini-Niagara, and Minnehaha Falls is still rushing in mid-July. Below the Falls, Minnehaha Creek resembles a rocky mountain stream with flush rapids.

Boaters and paddlers, however, have had some of their pleasure curtailed by all the high water. No-wake orders on many lakes have just now begun to be lifted. High flows on rivers have caused river paddlers to be extra careful in seeking their recreation.

This has hampered water recreationists, especially those that didn’t enjoy a colder than usual winter. Not only have they been curtailed in enjoying their usual fun, but all this high water is causing environmental problems too. More flooding and erosion, greater growth of aquatic invasives, increased algae blooms impairing water quality, more mosquitoes, gnats and black flies all impact the environment.

Scientists have warned us that climate change patterns will bring more significant and regular weather extremes. Might this year, with the long winter cold period, and the heavy rains into July, be the start of this regular climate pattern?

One hopes not, as these changes are hard to adjust to and cost everyone more money to deal with. The realization by big business that climate change can impact profit margins hopefully will signal politicians to take prominent action soon before these weather patterns become the new norm.

About John Helland

John Helland
John Helland is a history graduate of the University of Minnesota. He served as the nonpartisan legislative research analyst for the Minnesota House of Representatives after graduation. He worked extensively on environment and natural resources legislation and issues, and was the primary nonpartisan research staffer for the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance committees from 1971 to 2008.
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