Wisconsin’s increased flooding in recent years has been caused by a combination of climate change and other factors, including natural variation.
A warmer climate has increased the number of extreme precipitation events, which has in turn led to more flooding. The past decade has been the “warmest and wettest on record for Wisconsin,” said a climate expert from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
While some Wisconsin areas may have experienced flooding regularly in the past, floods in recent years have intensified in part because of climate change.
Southwest Wisconsin’s Kickapoo River watershed, for example, faced flooding at various points in the last century, but the scale of three major floods in the last decade prompted several building relocations of towns in the area.
Effects of increased flooding are felt both economically — with weakened tourism growth and interruptions of services around the Mississippi River — and ecologically — with more prevalent harmful algal blooms.
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