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."

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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