What’s Causing Freezing Temperatures Across the U.S.?

With temperatures in the teens in Washington D.C., the C&O Canal is frozen solid. So are tens of millions of people from Maine to the Carolinas… "And now to add insult to injury there’s been some of the coldest air in the last couple of decades invading the Northeast from the Arctic," says Dave Robinson, a professor of climatology at Rutgers University. He says what’s behind it all is the polar vortex…"The polar vortex is essentially the coldest air found in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s situated up in the Arctic in the bulk of the winter," Robinson says. "But occasionally, a lobe of that will dip south above the jet stream and allow that cold air down into the Middle Atlantic states. Sometimes last winter, it was into the northern Plains."

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Winter Wallop: Why the Next Week is Going to be the Worst

If you’re still making plans for the upcoming holiday weekend, you may want to keep them indoors. New Jersey will be stuck in a revolving door of dangerous cold and snow over the next week, with record cold, wind chills below negative 20 and disruptive wintry weather all possible… In fact, the likely snow on Saturday may help exacerbate the cold. Fresh snowpack can absorb lingering moisture in the air quickly following a storm, allowing heat to more readily radiate out into the atmosphere, according to David Robinson, the state climatologist at Rutgers University. "If the winds are calm and you have that fresh snowpack, that’s when you can see the temperature drop 5 or 10 degrees as the sun sets," he said.

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Experts: Climate Change May Make Northeast Winter Storms Worse

Snow has been no friend to the Northeast this winter, and as another storm is ready to pummel the Northeast this weekend, climate change experts offer an explanation of why record-breaking amounts of precipitation may become a norm for the region. "Simple physical laws will tell you that a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture," Dr. David Robinson, a state climatologist at Rutgers University, says. "So it’s related to warmer temperatures and more abundant moisture available in the atmosphere, but you still need an impetus. You still need a storm." This weekend’s winter weather and the last few weeks’ rash of storms is that exact impetus.

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Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset County Helpline Office Opens March 2

The Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset County, a volunteer organization of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, are busy getting ready to open the Helpline office in Bridgewater on March 2… The Rutgers Master Gardener Helpline volunteers provide materials and information necessary to obtain a proper soil sample for analysis from Rutgers’ labs, soil pH testing, lawn care and plant, tree and shrub identification, advice about the right plant for the right place and recommendations on deer resistant plant material. With suitable samples, the Master Gardeners can also diagnose plant diseases, identify insects, weeds and other pests of the home and garden and give written advice about cultural recommendations for their control following Integrated Pest Managements techniques.

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Bringing Local Foods into Schools: A Food Innovation Center Partnership

School lunch quality has been getting a lot of attention on the web lately. Whether it’s images of tantalizing school lunches from around the world juxtaposed with a bland U.S. school lunch, or students’ snapshots of globs of unidentifiable food on school lunch trays, people are taking notice. The Rutgers Food Innovation Center is working to make school lunch products not only healthy and tasty, but also made from local Jersey Fresh products.

Video: Rutgers Food Innovation Center converts local harvests into student-approved cafeteria foods