North Jersey’s so-called ‘cool’ summer skewed by short-term memories

If you think this summer has been cold, it’s only because your sense of "normal" has been skewed by the extra-hot summers of the past few years, and perhaps you have some lingering trauma from last winter’s brutality too. This summer is actually pretty average as far as temperatures go, according to a state official…"It’s been cooler than the last four summers because the last four summers were all excessively warm," David Robinson, the state climatologist at Rutgers University, told Suburban Trends last week. "There’s nothing all that remarkable about this summer in the long term. What makes it seem well below average in the temperature department is a function of how warm recent summers have been."

Read the entire article at NorthJersey.com »

Alumni Story: Herbert Bormann, Identified ‘Acid Rain’

Herbert Bormann

Herbert Bormann

Editor’s Note: One of the most prestigious honors conferred on alumni of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is induction into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni (HDA). The School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is proud of its 16 HDA honorees. This is one of a series of stories about them.

In its 2012 obituary chronicling the life of F. Herbert Bormann (Ag ’48), the New York Times recounted an interview with his widow, Christine: “Mrs. Bormann recalled that on their honeymoon she and her husband had passed the towering smokestacks of the smelters of a giant Canadian nickel mine. There was not a tree in sight; the landscape was denuded. ‘What on earth happened here?’ Dr. Bormann asked.”

The answer, it turns out, was later termed “acid rain,” an “environmental horror” that Bormann and his team of scientists discovered in the 1970s in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He was a co-founder of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study in the White Mountain National Forest, which has been a major model for the ecological and biogeochemical research of terrestrial ecosystems since its origination in 1960. [Read more...]

FORUM: Barnegat Bay’s pollution sources

Rapid growth in southern Ocean County in the last decade may be accelerating the marked decline of Barnegat Bay in the last few years – extending southward problems that are already severe in the county’s heavily developed north, data from a new government report show…"I wouldn’t be surprised," said Robert Nicholson, supervisory hydrologist with the USGS New Jersey office, whose team of Ronald Baker and Christine Wieben were authors along with Richard Lathrop, a remote sensing mapping expert at Rutgers University, and Nicholson. Nearly 25 percent of the watershed is covered in turf grass, and most is in the densely populated northern county suburbs, he said.

Read the entire article at CourierPostOnline.com »

Penguins and Antarctica and climate change, oh my! Teachers CONVERGE at Rutgers with research team

Excited talk of underwater robots, food webs and climate change filled the air at a weeklong teacher workshop at Rutgers University for Project CONVERGE, a program that will bring "real science" into area classrooms…Led by chief scientists and oceanographers Josh Kohut of Rutgers and Matt Oliver of the University of Delaware, the workshop is the kickoff for a year-long collaboration. The teachers’ students will become part of the Project CONVERGE team. Through blogs, interactive online classroom sessions and video conference calls, the middle-schoolers will get to know researchers in Antarctica and their work.

Read the entire article at APP.com »

Butterflies and moths get their day (and night) at the Meadowlands

What’s the difference between a moth and a butterfly? Mostly the time of day. Other than what shift they work, there’s not all that much difference between the two insects, experts explained recently at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst…What separates the two creatures is one of the most-asked questions about the insects, said Elana Tartaglia, an expert on moths from Rutgers University, who holds a Ph.D in ecology. "I’m asked that all the time," she said, "and the answer is quite simple: Very little."

Read the entire article at NorthJersey.com »