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Tennessee Expects Increase In Extreme Weather Events.

Tennessee faces significantly increasing threat levels from extreme heat, drought, wildfire, and inland flooding between now and 2050. The state has taken strong action to address its current climate risks and has begun to evaluate its vulnerability to its future climate risks. By 2050, people in Nashville are projected to experience an average of about 44 days per year over 95.4ºF and 60 days over 85.5ºF. Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of heat waves, even in places with cooler average temperatures.

Tennessee’s climate is changing. Although the average temperature did not change much during the 20th century, the state has warmed in the last 20 years. Average annual rainfall is increasing, and a rising percentage of that rain is falling on the four wettest days of the year. In the coming decades, the changing climate is likely to reduce crop yields, threaten some aquatic ecosystems,

and increase some risks to human health.

Floods may be more frequent, and droughts may be longer, which would increase the difficulty of meeting the competing demands for water in the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Our climate is changing because the earth is warming. People have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in

the air by 40 percent since the late 1700s.

Other heat trapping greenhouse gases are also increasing. Evaporation increases as the atmosphere warms, which increases humidity, average rainfall, and the frequency of heavy rainstorms in many places—but contributes to drought in others. Natural cycles and sulfates in the air prevented much of Tennessee from warming during the last century. Sulfates are air pollutants that reflect sunlight back into space. Now sulfate emissions are declining, and the factors that once prevented Tennessee from warming are unlikely to persist.

Sulfate particles have health effects similar to those from exposure to PM2, fine particle pollution. These include reduced lung function, aggravated asthmatic symptoms, and increased risk of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and death in people who have chronic heart or lung diseases. Climate may also be affecting birth rates. Since the state's fertility rate peaked in 2007at 68 births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 44, it has fallen to a historic low of 58 in 2020. That recent trend would suggest that the state's fertility slide could continue. Data analysts pulling numbers regarding Tennessee's birth and fertility rates say the numbers are on the decline and have been for years.


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