Climate change and the rise of seasonal allergies

If even hearing the word "ragweed" makes your eyes water, you might be one of the nearly 45 million Americans with seasonal allergies. And allergists say the number of people with sensitivities to Ragweed and other plants is growing. As it turns out, the rise in allergies and asthma is fueled by climate change…Researchers do this kind of pollen collection all over the country, and they’ve seen trends emerge. Dr. Leonard Bielory of Rutgers University has been studying the connection between pollen levels and the throngs showing up at his office. "I saw a hidden signal in the pollen count changing over time," he says. "And I started correlating that we’re seeing patients earlier and the volume seems to be increasing. And some who were moderate or mild in years past are now more severe."

Read the entire article at NewsWorks.org »

Report: Make climate change integral to New Jersey state policies

The state of New Jersey needs to step up efforts to deal with the effects of climate change, a goal that might be achieved through the establishment of a statewide group to foster preparedness for the potential impacts of global warming, according to a new report…"Climate change is real; it’s happening now and it’s affecting New Jersey,” said Anthony Broccoli, professor of atmospheric science at Rutgers University at a forum held at Duke Farms.

Read the entire article at NewsWorks.org »

The ocean seems warm at the Shore, but will temps hold?

On a blistering summer day, nothing feels quite so good as taking a dip at in the ocean. But where along the Jersey shore can you find the not-too-cool, not-too-hot "sweet spot" for water temperatures, the one that provides just enough relief from the heat and makes you go "ahhhh"?…"Most people like it to be at least in the mid to upper 70s," said Josh Kohut, assistant professor of Physical Oceanography at Rutgers University and founding member of the university’s Coastal Ocean Observation Lab (COOL). "Certainly when we had upwelling last year and it got into the 50s that was a bit too cold for most people."

Read the entire article at NewsWorks.org »

After Sandy, balancing the needs of nesting birds and people [AUDIO]

A small gray bird crouches in the sand at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. Except for its bright orange beak, the American oystercatcher is difficult to spot among the sand and shells. It’s nesting season for many endangered or threatened species of birds at the Jersey Shore, including the oystercatcher, black skimmers, least terns, and the hard-to-spot piping plover…In recent years, only 100 to 120 pairs of piping plovers have nested in the entire state, according to Brooke Maslo, a professor and researcher at Rutgers University. Historically, Barnegat Lighthouse State Park has typically hosted just one pair. In the wake of Sandy, two – maybe three – pairs of piping plovers have taken up residence in the park, thanks to changes brought by the storm.

Read the entire article at NewsWorks.org »

Washington demands taking rising seas into account for post-Sandy projects

As Jersey Shore towns ask Washington for money to bankroll post-Superstorm Sandy infrastructure plans, they’re being told to take rising sea levels in account. The idea is build smarter, so that these pricey projects can survive the rising seas and the increased flooding the vast majority of scientists expect in the coming years…By 2050, seas will rise an average of 25 centimeters (about 10 inches) from their 2000 levels around the globe, according to Ben Horton, a professor at Rutgers University who specializes in sea level rise. But the coastal plain of New Jersey, the increase will be 45 centimeters (about 18 inches) higher than they were in 2000. By 2100, Horton expects sea levels will be nearly 3.5 feet above where they were in 2000.

Read the entire article at NewsWorks.org »

Garbage on the beach: a daily problem

The garbage that you see on the beach during the afternoon and not the morning? There’s a reason for that, says a Rutgers University researcher. Beach maintenance varies from town to town, but one common daily problem is overflowing garbage cans, and Gregg Sakowicz, also known as "Professor Sak" on Facebook, explains why and offers solutions. Sakowicz conducts research at the university in conjunction with a partnership with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR) and is a regular blogger.

Read the entire article at NewsWorks.org »

For region’s farmers, wet weather is mixed bag

After the wettest day on record in Greater Philadelphia earlier this week, downpours put the area under another flash flood warning Thursday, luring only a handful of shoppers to brave outdoor farmers markets in the city. As for farmers well outside Philadelphia proper, heavy rain has blessed a few, but plagued most…"If you look at Pennsylvania as a whole, too little rain is worse than too much," said Jeffrey Graybill, agronomy educator at Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County…Agricultural agent Ray Samulis of Burlington County’s Rutgers Cooperative Extension says farmers in the sandy, well-irrigated South Jersey soil couldn’t disagree with Graybill’s sentiments more. "I’ll give you the name of fifty farmers that say the exact opposite of that," said Samulis.

Read the entire article at NewsWorks.org »

Blight disease hitting crops in New Jersey

Farmers and home gardeners are on the watch for a destructive disease that is hitting tomato and potato crops in New Jersey. The disease, called "late blight," has been found at five farms in New Jersey. Gardeners should keep a careful eye on the leaves of potato and tomato plants, advised Meredith Melendez, agriculture coordinator for Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County. "The disease starts out as sort of greasy area on the surface of the leaf under the right conditions," she said. "If you were to flip over the leaf when we have those moist humid mornings, you would see spoilation occurring. You will actually see it producing reproductive spores as an attempt to spread throughout the crop."

Read the entire article at NewsWorks.org »

Camden receives ‘Environmental Excellence’ award

The Camden Stormwater Management and Resource Training (SMART) initiative has received the 2012 New Jersey Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award… It is comprised of the City of Camden, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, New Jersey Tree Foundation and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Read the entire article at NewsWorks.org »

How Rutgers oceanographers got data from below Superstorm Sandy

While Superstorm Sandy was crashing down on the New Jersey coast, an underwater glider was miles offshore, sending back data to oceanographers at Rutgers University. It all started on Oct. 25, a few days before Sandy made landfall, with Travis Miles and Greg Seroka. The two oceanography Ph.D. students were on a boat, heading out from Belmar, N.J., under calm and sunny skies.

Read the entire article at NewsWorks.org »