After two straight miserably cold winters in the East, the trendy explanation has been that climate change made them more extreme… But two new studies say not so fast, we should expect a warming climate to lead to a marked decrease in cold weather as time wears on… The idea that winters are leading to increased extreme cold and big temperature swings is tied to the hypothesis that the jet stream is slowing down and becoming more erratic. Faster warming in the Arctic compared to regions to the south, a phenomenon known as “Arctic amplification”, is thought to be altering the jet stream’s behavior. Some have dubbed this the “drunk Arctic” hypothesis… “When the Arctic is so warm, the west winds of the jet stream weaken, and this favors the highly wavy pattern to the jet stream responsible for this winter chill in the eastern U.S as well as the continued drought and heat in California,” explained Rutgers meteorology professor Jennifer Francis earlier this winter.
Archives for March 2015
Some New Jersey travelers are concerned about chikungunya, a mosquito-borne illness that means “bent over in pain” in the African Makonde language, a rather fitting name… With symptoms that can persist for years in 5 to 10 percent of cases, chikungunya brings about debilitating joint pain and swelling, muscle pain, rash, headache, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Most people make a full recovery, but unknown factors can bring the illness to linger, typical of similar diseases… “Unless you’re traveling to Florida right now, New Jerseyans shouldn’t really be concerned about contracting chikungunya from within the United States,” said Scott Crans, senior program coordinator of entomology in the Center For Vector Biology at Rutgers University. “Even if you’re going to Florida now, the chances are pretty low. If you’re in an area that has reported chikungunya, as long as you’re wearing repellant, you’re minimizing your risk.”
Cranberry growers are being asked to help fund Rutgers University research to develop heartier and more productive varieties… The state Department of Agriculture will hold a hearing Thursday on a proposal to raise the self-imposed grower fee, called …
The long, cold winter has been keeping pollen- and allergy symptoms- at bay. Some trees should have started pollinating weeks ago. But Dr. Leonard Bielory with Rutgers University’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School says to get ready for a one-two punch, as trees play catch-up… “Late release, overlapping, and therefore much more intense, to the point where you may even see clouds of pollen being released over the next several weeks where there will be an almost yellow-green mist,” Bielory told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams… This year bucks a trend that Bielory, who has been studying climate change, has seen. In recent years, his counts show pollen release starting earlier and lasting longer.
Lower than normal temperatures have delayed the onset of the allergy season this spring, but that’s about to change… Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist with the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction, and tracks the pollen count in New Jersey… “It’s going to go from one to 10 to 100 to 1,000 over a period of four weeks, and even the most mildly allergic individuals are going to feel the pangs of the pollen release,” Bielory said. “You’ll almost see a green powder of pollen release during this period of time.”
Each year, thousands of volunteers in New Jersey donate their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live. These volunteers will be among the millions across the country who will be spotlighted during National Volunteer Week, April 12-18. One group that relies heavily on volunteers is the New Jersey 4-H Youth […]
Channeling the Heat Miser from the holiday cartoon classic “A Year without a Santa Claus,” Adam McDowell snidely punctuates his character Captain Carbon’s disdain for “Humans” in one of two show-stopping numbers that make “Gabi Goes Green!” a sure hit for young audiences… Two and a half years in the making, “Gabi” tells the tale of an eighth-grade student who has transferred to a new school after her family’s home was destroyed by Sandy. Armed with her clever smartphone app Eartha, Gabi transforms into the Green Hero and battles Captain Carbon by empowering others to reduce their carbon footprint with environmentally sound decisions… The public will get to see “Gabi” on March 30 and April 1 at the Playhouse. The latter date is tied to the theater’s free “Spotlight on Environmental Education” conference, featuring keynote speaker Anthony Broccoli, chair of Rutgers University’s Department of Environmental Sciences, and workshops to introduce climate change and other environmental issues into curriculum.
The bright orange flame that routinely danced from a pipe on the roof of Ridgewood’s sewage treatment plant did not exactly serve as a welcome beacon for Christopher Rutishauser, Ridgewood’s public works director. Instead, it became a nagging reminder of lost opportunity…The facility was flaring off methane, a greenhouse gas created when bacteria break down sewage… The Ridgewood sewage treatment plant, in Glen Rock, has two anaerobic digesters to handle the 3 million gallons of raw sewage generated by Ridgewood daily. But about 80 percent of the methane generated comes from something other than sewage- Ridgewood accepts 2,000 to 7,000 gallons a day of fats, oils and grease trucked in from area restaurants… “Fats, grease and trap wastes are very good to put in a digester- they’re like candy for the bacteria,” said Dave Specca, a bioenergy expert at Rutgers University’s EcoComplex, the state’s clean energy incubation center. “They just chew away at the sludge.”
Urban biodiversity isn’t just limited to buzzing insects. Last year, a study found that 54 cities are home to 20 percent of the world’s bird species. In the city of Lyon, scientists found nearly a third of all the bee species native to France. It turns out that cities are a good place for some animals to live- and how humans decide to manage their cities can make those habitats better or worse for the local fauna… Anyone who has ever walked through a flock of pigeons knows birds do pretty well in cities, too. That isn’t to say that birds prefer cities- urban areas only retain about 8 percent of the bird species that otherwise would have lived in the area, according to a study led by Myla Aronson of Rutgers University… But cities are still filled with a rich variety of birds. Aronson and her team looked at 54 cities around the world and found that 20 percent of known bird species can be found flying in urban centers…”From city to city, across the world, maintaining natural habitat within a city is important for biodiversity,” Aronson told NBC News.
A capacity crowd of 30 filled the Mercer County Connection office in the Hamilton Square Shopping Center on Tuesday to hear a presentation by Mercer County Horticulturist Barbara Bromley on spring planting essentials… Rooted in 60-plus years of gardening, Bromley freely shared her experience and advice on subjects ranging from the commonplace “you can fertilize now” to the esoteric “downy mildew is an emerging disease that is decimating impatiens… The Mercer County Extension program is part of the statewide Rutgers Cooperative Extension that has offices in all 21 New Jersey counties. The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station is at 930 Spruce St. in Trenton.