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Mississippi's climate has always been variable and sometimes extreme—and climate change may intensify this historical pattern. Average state temperatures have varied substantially over the past century, with a warming trend of about 1°F since the late 1960s. Extreme rainfall events, primarily thunderstorms, have increased this century. While rainfall totals have changed little, seasonal trends are apparent— summers have become slightly drier and winters slightly wetter. Sea level along the Mississippi coast—from St. Louis Bay to Pascagoula—has risen by as much as 8 inches over the past 100 years.
Present Climate in Mississippi
- Mississippi has a warm and humid climate, with annual rainfall ranging from 50 to 65 inches.
- Rainfall is brought by extratropical storms in the winter, and thunderstorms and tropical storms in the summer and fall.
- Occasionally, Mississippi experiences substantial flooding, especially during hurricanes.
- Tropical storms strike the Mississippi coast on average once every 12 years, but hurricane frequency varies by decade and is strongly influenced by the El Niño–La Niña cycle.
|Projected Climate Changes in Mississippi |
||3-10°F rise in winter lows and 3-7°F rise in summer highs. July heat index—a measure combining temperature and humidity to represent the temperature actually felt—could rise by 10-25°F. The freeze line is likely to move north.|
||In the immediate coastal regions of Mississippi, rainfall is likely to decrease, along with soil moisture. In upland areas, one model projects wetter conditions, while the other projects drier conditions. Where drought conditions increase, so does the risk of wildfires.|
||Hurricane intensity (characterized by maximum wind speeds and rainfall totals) could increase slightly with global warming, although changes in future hurricane frequency are uncertain. Even if storm frequencies and intensities remain constant, the damages from coastal flooding and erosion will increase as sea level rises.|
||Sea level is projected to rise at a faster rate over the coming century. By 2100, ocean levels would be 15 inches higher than today based on a continued average subsidence rate and a mid-range sea-level rise scenario.|
||Temperature and precipitation will continue to vary, in part related to the ENSO (El Niño / Southern Oscillation ) cycle.|
Magnolia - Copyright M. Harris, Floridata.com.
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