It might seem strange that the state known for mobsters, gas refineries and toxic superfund sites also gave the world one of the most delicious fruits known to man: the plump, red and juicy Jersey tomato… Food scientists have been tinkering with the molecular structure of the tomato for years, so tomato processors who now harvest by machine could have fruit that easily falls off the stem. Scientists also thickened the tomato’s skin and interior walls so they were more durable during the shipping process… But scientists at Rutgers University want to change that – they’re trying to bring the Jersey tomato back to its mouthwatering heyday… “You don’t know how good they were until you’ve tasted one. They really were just out of this world,” said William Hlubik, a faculty member with the Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension.
The string of massive snowstorms and bone-chilling cold on the US east coast, as well as flooding in Britain and record temperatures in Europe, are linked to rapid ice loss in the Arctic, new research appears to confirm… While the rapidly-thawing Arctic cannot be held responsible for specific weather events like the “snowmageddon” in 2009, Hurricane Sandy, or European heatwaves, researchers at Rutgers University said it appears to be a prime reason why the polar jet stream- a ribbon of winds that encircles the globe- gets “stuck” with increasing frequency… “We are seeing these extremes because the Arctic is warming faster than elsewhere. The whole lower atmosphere is heating up but the sea ice is the most observable. This is having this effect on the jet stream, making it extend further south and stay longer,” said co-author Jennifer Francis.
It is hard to imagine, but the flash floods and thunderstorms that took more than two dozen lives over the last week in Texas and Oklahoma, and washed away hundreds of homes, could provide good news for drought-stricken California… “What this exemplifies is something that applies to climate variation in the short and long term,” said Anthony Broccoli, a professor in the department of environmental sciences at Rutgers University. “That one particular pattern may produce weather conditions viewed favorably in one place and less favorably somewhere else.”… Broccoli called this a seesaw effect that has long occurred in the US, with mild and dry winters on the west coast sometimes meaning cold and stormy winters on the east coast.