If the oceans and atmosphere continue to warm, sea level along the Mississippi coast is likely to rise between twenty-two inches and four feet in the next century. Rising sea level submerges wetlands and dry land, erodes beaches, and exacerbates coastal flooding.
Coastal states like Florida and South Carolina are most at risk of the impacts of climate change. Extreme heat, drought, inland flooding, wildfires, and coastal flooding are some of the most devastating effects of climate change. So most of the focus is on those leaving little time and effort left to contemplate about the states that rely on great rivers and lakes for sustenance. There are 12 properties in Mississippi State that have greater than a 25% chance of being severely affected by flooding over the next 20 years. Increased swings between extreme lows and highs on the Mississippi River, driven by climate change, mean that typical water conditions are no longer the norm, and that river transport is likely to face more backups in the future similar to what we experienced in 2022.
The Mississippi River's flow is projected to increase in the future as global temperature continues to rise and hydrologic cycle intensifies. Additionally, rapid urbanization in the river basin will create conditions that foster the emergence of mega floods. Mississippi's problems — failing schools, high unemployment and egregious poverty in some areas, low wages, lack of adequate health care for many, hunger, high infant mortality, high rates of teen pregnancy, and so on — have severe impacts on a large proportion of Mississippians, and it is basically their own fault as the majority of white Mississippians routinely vote against their own interests in order to preserve a system of racial inequity that keeps them poor and stratified but people of color poorer until they leave usually in their early 20's.
The Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles (160 km) downstream from New Orleans. Measurements of the length of the Mississippi from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico vary somewhat, but the United States Geological Survey's number is 2,340 miles (3,766 km). Currently climate change is causing massive warming in the gulf that could also adversely affect the Mississippi!
For Mississippians, climate change is resulting in many other noticeable differences, like longer mosquito seasons, more flash flood-producing storms in the Mississippi River Basin (which requires the opening of the Mississippi River spillways and causes catastrophic damage to fisheries, oyster hatcheries, and marine life), and more days where temperatures are unbearably hot.
On a planning level, Mississippi’s leaders need to do much more, especially along the coast and in flood-prone areas, becoming uninhabitable in the coming decades, and possibly sooner. They also need to stop burning fossil fuels now if they want to have any realistic chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.
The Climate Reality Project says more intense hurricanes will become a reality in Mississippi and there could be more than 100 days a year with temperatures above 85 degrees by the end of the century -- four times more than the current 15 to 25 days the state now experiences. This means also an extreme demographic change for the region as recent studies show for every day over 82 degrees fahrenheit there are approximately 10,000 less births annually in the North American Caucasian community! Another study found that one additional day with a maximum temperature of 30–32 °C (86–89.6 °F), relative to a day with a temperature of 28–30 °C (82.4–86 °F), decreases the birth rate 9 months later by 0.24%, or 92 babies per month in South Korea.
The Environmental Protection Agency noted Mississippi will become warmer, with floods and droughts likely more severe in the future due to climate change. Annual rainfall has increased, more rain arrives in heavy downpours, and the sea level is rising about one inch every seven years, the EPA said in a recent report. The changing climate is likely to increase damages from tropical storms, reduce crop yields, harm livestock, increase the number of unpleasantly hot days, and increase the risk of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.