Report: Hotter Days, Environmental Changes In Tennessee's Future

May 12, 2014

Credit Tony Swartz, via Flickr/Creative Commons

The spring thaw feels pretty good, but the hot, humid days of summer are fast approaching. There may be more of those sweltering days in the future, according to a recently-released climate report.

Residents in Tennessee and throughout the Southeast can expect more days when the mercury reaches 95 degrees or above, and fewer cold days, according to the report released last week and analyzed in Sunday's Knoxville News Sentinel. Weather disasters, such as flooding and severe storms, may also be exacerbated by climate change in the region, the study's authors said.

The report also pointed to events in Tennessee that a local environmental advocate said are signs of climate change's effects already in progress, including flooding in Nashville and lower waters levels along the Mississippi River in West Tennessee.

Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said even East Tennessee is already feeling the effects of climate change. Notably, he told the News Sentinel, ecosystems in the Great Smoky Mountains are changing.

The climate report has been heavily criticized by skeptics, including U.S. Rep. John Duncan, whose Third District includes Knoxville.

"Some special interest groups, researchers and the EPA keep raising the bar to make the problems look worse than they really are, primarily to get more funding and power," Duncan told the paper.