ter and warm and humid summers. This type of climate is called temperate continental. Three different types of air masses affect Wisconsin. The continental polar air masses from the northwest bring bitter cold, dry weather in winter. The maritime tropical gulf air mass from the Gulf of Mexico brings high humidity and heat in summer. The maritime polar Pacific air mass can bring more moderate weather straight from the west any time during the year. Wisconsin's weather is also affected by the Great Lakes on its northern and eastern sides by their moderating of the weather in the coastal areas, which are warmer in winter and cooler in summer than the rest of the state. Residents of shoreline cities get lake-effect snow (perhaps several inches, while 30 mi. (48 km.) inland, the sky is sunny and nobody needs to shovel). The annual precipitation is 31 in (79 cm.). The southern counties get about 30 in. (76 cm.) of snow each winter, and the annual snowfall in Iron County to the north can be as much as 100 in. (254 cm.). The highest temperature recorded in the state is 114 degrees F (45.5 degrees C) on July 13, 1936, and minus 55 degrees F (13 degrees C), on February 4, 1996, is the lowest temperature recorded in the state.
Wisconsin is a Corn Belt state, and corn is its major crop. Other leading crops are soybeans, hay, sweet corn, potatoes, cranberries, and oats. Major industries include dairy products, corn, hay, and beef. Wisconsin takes advantage of Lake Michigan for commercial fishing, though it is only a small industry in the state. Important species are whitefish, lake trout, perch, chub, ale-wife, and carp. Forestry is a minor industry, with most hardwood cut going to plywood and veneer manufac-
ture; the pulp and paper industry consumes much of the softwood harvest. Wisconsin's mineral output is limited to stone, sand and gravel, copper, lime, lead, and talc.
Wisconsin experienced a sample of possible effects of climate change with the Great Flood of 1993, when rain and snow runoffraised the Mississippi River along with other rivers and small streams. Madison reported 21.49 in. (54.5 cm.) of rain. Signs of global warming are apparent throughout the Great Lakes. Over the past 150 years, the average extent of ice cover on many of Wisconsin's lakes has continuously declined.
Although climate models vary on the amount of temperature increase during the 21st century, ranging from 8-7 degrees F (4.4-3.8 degrees C), the average summer water level in the Great Lakes could drop 1.5-8 ft. (0.4-2.4 m.) by the end of the century, and extreme 100-year floods (named because they happen once every 100-200 years) could begin to occur on a much more frequent basis. With extreme floods and higher temperatures, Wisconsin could experience more drought conditions as a result of increased evaporation, and reduced soil moisture may force farmers to rely more on irrigation.
Possible effects from increased temperatures include decreased water supplies; changes in food production, with agriculture improving in cooler climates and decreasing in warmer climates (Wisconsin farmers could see an increase in demand for corn-based ethanol); changes in rain pattern to downpours, with the potential for flash flooding and health risks of certain infectious diseases from water contamination or disease-carrying vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks, and rodents; warmer temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses and lead to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone pollution causing respiratory illnesses, especially in cities with smog, like Milwaukee.
On the basis of energy consumption data from EIA's State Energy Consumption, Price, and Expenditure Estimates, released June 1, 2007, Wisconsin's total CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion in 2004 were 107.05 million metric tons, made up of contributions from commercial (5.67 million metric tons), industrial (16.67 million metric tons), residential (10.02 million metric tons), transportation (30.57 million metric tons), and electric power (44.13 million metric tons).
Wisconsin established the Task Force on Global Warming in April 2007 to understand emissions impacts, determine modeling scenarios, and define the
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