The Southeast United States in 2100

The Southeast United States will see a resurgent agriculture by 2100 in this ‘Business-as-Usual’ model.  More land newly sowed, and more land, potentially fertile for crops.  However, it will be a far less diverse environment with few mixed species forests and woods, and single species crops.  Now with the influx of both precipitation and warming weather patterns (upto 6-8 ºF warmer on average) the land may be productive of crops for human consumption.  With higher temperatures will come the concomitant potential for insect infestations and tropical diseases into regions unfamiliar with combating them.

Screen Shot 2020-02-02 at 10.44.36 AM.pngMost of the southern parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina will expect a 25-80% increase in crop suitability.  Areas to the north will see little change over the course of the 21st Century.

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 10.47.33 AM.png


Biodiversity Intactness Index may seem a little more “touchy-feely” in the sense of the how it might be normalized to an “intact ecosystem,” if the original in no longer extant, but it is based on an extensive survey of the UK Museum of Natural History’s collections, past and present.  These collections include over 1,572,700 insects, 1,344,000 animals, 786,200 fauna, and 434,900 ancient species, as reported in Science 353:288-29, “Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment”, Newbold, et. al. (2016).

I reprint the descriptor with the MapX data plot  for the Southeast USA (below)

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As seems obvious from the data plot, most of the Mississippi River region and tributaries have less than 60% of the original biodiversity present in 2016.  Also in this category is Central Florida south of Orlando and into the Lake Okeechobee area, ending just north of the Everglades National Park, which itself is at only ~80% natural diversity extant.


 

Screen Shot 2020-02-02 at 11.01.48 AM.pngMangroves of the Southeast.  These represent the most carbon-rich areas of the maritime  districts.  By 2100, under the most conservative estimates, they will be underwater and no more.  The carbon content of the mangroves will being released to the environment, further enhancing the process of global warming and coastal erosion. 


The Coastline of the Southeast United States in 2100

Screen Shot 2020-02-02 at 11.13.37 AM.pngA two meter (6.5 foot) rise in sea level can be expected by 2100, at a minimum. Potentially this could shift to as much as 6 meters (20 foot) sea level rises with the loss of  Greenland’s ice sheets and the majority of Antarctic ice sheets with global warming.  The Mississippi Delta region in Louisiana will be gone and underwater, as illustrated above.


 

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