The ‘biggest threat’ to NJ swimmers [AUDIO]

"Most of our lakes are polluted by the Canada goose, it tends to land in the water, walk out of the water, feed on the grass and it produces about 10 pounds of feces a week," according to Christopher Obropta, a professor at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. He said a typical Canada goose lives 26 years, "so that’s a lot of bacteria entering the water-body."

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Hot NJ Weather: Is This a Heat Wave? [AUDIO]

Tuesday was the third day this season that some areas of New Jersey hit 90 degrees, but state climatologist David Robinson of Rutgers University said that’s actually a little late to be seeing widespread readings in the 90’s for the first time.

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Why is This ‘Normal’ Allergy Season So Bad? [AUDIO]

This spring’s allergy season in New Jersey has been classified as "normal" because elevated levels of pollen began to show up as soon as the spring season officially began in March, but many Garden State residents report having the worst allergic symptoms they can recall. So what’s going on here? Leonard Bielory, a professor at the Rutgers University Center for Environmental Prediction and a leading authority on allergies, isn’t surprised. He said recent studies confirm pollen levels are rising, and individuals who have been sensitized to one type of pollen begin to have allergic reactions to other types as well.

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Tough Winter Could Stifle a Migrating Bug [AUDIO]

The hard winter may have left New Jersey with at least one positive side effect: the slowing of the migration of a pine tree-devouring insect. Richard VanVranken, agricultural agent and head of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County, said the southern pine beetle can encircle a pine tree and cut off its water supply, killing the tree over time. This harsh weather may have put the brakes on the bug’s northern migration to the Mullica Rver, but the jury’s still out. "There have been some reports that we got close to it (low temperatures) for extended periods in some parts of the region," VanVranken said. "Other parts didn’t quite get cold enough."

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Spring Allergies to Be Robust, Thanks to Snow [AUDIO]

If the amount of snow New Jersey has seen this winter is any indication, it looks like the state is in for a tough allergy season. "We’re expecting a very robust start to the spring as the melting of several feet of snow translates into several inches of water," said Dr. Leonard Bielory, allergist and immunologist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital [visiting professor of Environmental Science, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University]. "The trees will be well-fed with nutrients and the pollen season starts with trees this year, so it’s going to be a strong one…" "This year, because of the heavy snow, we know that trees will be heavy pollinators," Bielory said. "Whether the season starts earlier really depends on whether we have an early thaw."

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Flooding Threat Plagues NJ Bayside Communities [AUDIO]

he main focus when discussing floods or flood zones is usually New Jersey’s coastline and those living alongside the Atlantic Ocean, but the bigger threat is elsewhere, according to experts in the field. New Jersey’s back bay communities are at a larger risk of "inundation," and the problem is only getting worse. "They are susceptible to the rising sea level that is ongoing and will be ongoing," said Dr. Michael Kennish, a research professor with the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University. "By 2050, we’re looking at a sea level rise that could be as much as 22 inches."

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Benefits of Colder Weather? [audio]

Last week’s snowfall and this week’s dangerously low temperatures have forced New Jerseyans to develop a hatred for the colder months. However, the truth is this type of weather is needed in the Garden State; it actually has some benefits, even if most of them aren’t that exciting to the average Jersey resident…Fruit crops, like apple trees, require a certain amount of "chilling" during the winter in order for them to develop properly in the spring. "Cold weather can also play a role in knocking down insect pests, making sure that certain types of insects don’t survive throughout the winter," added Tony Broccoli, professor of atmospheric science at Rutgers University.

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Is New Jersey Prepared for Rising Sea Levels? [AUDIO]

With evidence that sea levels in New Jersey have risen by more than a foot over the last 100 years and are expected to continue going up, some experts believe sea level rise should be considered as the state continues to recover and rebuild from Superstorm Sandy. "We can expect sea level rise of another foot and a half or so by the middle of the 21st century, by 2050, and maybe as much as three to four feet by the end of this century in 2100," said Anthony Broccoli, professor of atmospheric science at Rutgers University. "Those rises in sea levels are significant because they are going to increase the risk of flooding from storms. The kind of water levels we saw from Sandy will happen more frequently toward the end of this century because the baseline water level will be higher."

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Summer 2013 Second Wettest on Record in NJ [AUDIO]

When we look back at the summer of 2013, we may remember the wet June, the hot July and a fairly mild August. But, it was actually one for the record books. In fact, this summer was the second wettest on record in New Jersey according to State Climatologist Dr. Dave Robinson at Rutgers University. "June was the wettest June on record. So, when you add up above normal precipitation in June, it was a bit above normal in July and August as well, and that makes it the second wettest summer on record only surpassed by the summer of 2011 which was punctuated by Irene," said Dr. Robinson.

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Ragweed Season Arrives [Poll/Audio]

New Jersey allergy sufferers beware. Ragweed season is here, and it could be one for the record books. "It’s going to be a big crop this year," said Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy and asthma expert at Rutgers University. Ragweed is the third and perhaps most severe part of that "unholy trinity" known as allergy season, which sees tree pollen in the spring followed by grass pollen. "The ragweed is at two to four feet, but the mugworts are four to six feet. So it is going to be a very potent weed season in August," said Dr. Bielory. Bielory said the combination of high heat in June and July, and some deluging rains have combined to produce a record ragweed run.

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