This Year’s Allergy Season Expected to Pack a Punch

Lower than normal temperatures have delayed the onset of the allergy season this spring, but that’s about to change… Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist with the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction, and tracks the pollen count in New Jersey… "It’s going to go from one to 10 to 100 to 1,000 over a period of four weeks, and even the most mildly allergic individuals are going to feel the pangs of the pollen release," Bielory said. "You’ll almost see a green powder of pollen release during this period of time."

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Allergy Expert: Expect Explosion Of Pollen This Spring

The long, cold winter has been keeping pollen- and allergy symptoms- at bay. Some trees should have started pollinating weeks ago. But Dr. Leonard Bielory with Rutgers University’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School says to get ready for a one-two punch, as trees play catch-up… "Late release, overlapping, and therefore much more intense, to the point where you may even see clouds of pollen being released over the next several weeks where there will be an almost yellow-green mist," Bielory told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams… This year bucks a trend that Bielory, who has been studying climate change, has seen. In recent years, his counts show pollen release starting earlier and lasting longer.

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Bergen Utilities Converting Sewage into Valuable Energy Source

The bright orange flame that routinely danced from a pipe on the roof of Ridgewood’s sewage treatment plant did not exactly serve as a welcome beacon for Christopher Rutishauser, Ridgewood’s public works director. Instead, it became a nagging reminder of lost opportunity…The facility was flaring off methane, a greenhouse gas created when bacteria break down sewage… The Ridgewood sewage treatment plant, in Glen Rock, has two anaerobic digesters to handle the 3 million gallons of raw sewage generated by Ridgewood daily. But about 80 percent of the methane generated comes from something other than sewage- Ridgewood accepts 2,000 to 7,000 gallons a day of fats, oils and grease trucked in from area restaurants… "Fats, grease and trap wastes are very good to put in a digester- they’re like candy for the bacteria," said Dave Specca, a bioenergy expert at Rutgers University’s EcoComplex, the state’s clean energy incubation center. "They just chew away at the sludge."

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Nuclear War Could Ignite ‘Global Food Crisis’

I recently absorbed some alarming information on nuclear weapons and the catastrophic global impact of even a small-scale nuclear war… For starters, a very interesting article in The New Yorker focused on three Plowshares peace activists, including an 82-year-old nun, who easily broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Y-12 is the nation’s sole industrial complex where weapons-grade uranium is fabricated and stored, according to the article by Eric Schlosser… Lastly, I looked at a recent study by Lili Xia and Alan Robock of Rutgers University and several others on the potential impact of a regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan… I talked with Robock, a Wall resident, meteorologist and distinguished professor in Rutgers University’s Department of Environmental Sciences, this morning. He said the researchers calculated that a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, involving 50 nuclear weapons apiece, would generate 6.5 million tons of black soot.

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Arctic Sea Ice is at its Lowest

The spring and summer melt season is officially on for Arctic sea ice, and it’s not off to a good start. The 2015 melt season will start with a record low maximum ice extent… According to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, sea ice extent was 425,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average. That’s the equivalent of 1.6 times the size of Texas (the largest state in the Lower 48) or 411 Rhode Islands (the smallest state). No matter how you measure it, it represents a huge missing chunk of ice… This year’s record low maximum for winter sea ice in the Arctic doesn’t guarantee another record low minimum when summer rolls around in August. But it is cause for concern and provides a clear sign of how the planet is changing as the Earth warms… "The fact that we’re starting the melt season with low- maybe record low- winter extent cannot be good," Jennifer Francis, a Rutgers University Arctic researcher, said in an email right before the records came in.

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