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How’s The Water: January 18, 2013

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just issued its monthly State of the Climate Report, which said, “2012 was the warmest and second most extreme year on record for the contiguous U.S.” The extreme weather experienced in the lower 48 included drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms, although there was less tornado activity than average.

According to the statistics compiled by NOAA, 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. “The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year. Every state in the contiguous U.S. had an above-average annual temperature for 2012. Nineteen states had a record warm year and an additional 26 states had one of their 10 warmest.

The average precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 26.57 inches; 2.57 inches below average, making it the 15th driest year on record for the nation. At its peak in July, the drought of 2012 engulfed 61 percent of the nation with the Mountain West, Great Plains, and Midwest experiencing the most intense drought conditions. The dry conditions proved ideal for wildfires in the West, charring 9.2 million acres — the third highest on record.”

As residents of the Gulf Coast and the Northeast know to our great regret, Hurricane Isaac, which struck in late August of 2012, and Hurricane Sandy in October caused billions of dollars in damage. Wildfires, including the Waldo Canyon Fire near Boulder, burned 9.2 million acres.

The United States is not the only country being impacted by extreme weather. According to the Wall Street Journal, the temperatures are so hot in Australia that deep purple and magenta are now on the Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast map for the country. Purple is for temperatures ranging from 50 degrees celsius to 52 degrees (122 to 125.6 Fahrenheit), while magenta is for 52 degrees to 54 degrees. Temperatures soared to a national record average of 40.33 degrees on Jan. 7, the highest since records began more than 100 years ago, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. The previous record of 40.17 degrees was set Dec. 21, 1972. The extreme heat has also sparked a spate of bush fires through the southeastern part of the country, destroying property, livestock and crops.

The island nation of Kiribati is buying 5,000 acres of land on the second-largest island in Fiji, Vanau Levu. The situation is dire because in 1999, three of the uninhabited atolls in the nation went underwater. If sea levels continue to rise at projected levels, it is estimated that by 2100, the entire nation might be submerged. Other nations threatened by sea level rise include the Maldives, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, the Phillipines, Barbados, Egypt, and Tuvalu

Whether you choose to believe climate change is occurring because of human impact or it is a naturally occurring cycle, or perhaps that climate change is a natural cycle which is being exacerbated by humans, clearly, it is occurring and will impact not only our world environment, but the world economy. It will take political will to confront the challenges of addressing climate change, but it is past time to do so. Hurricane Sandy very clearly demonstrated Long Island’s vulnerability to rising sea levels.

* * *

Friends of the Bay’s water quality monitoring season ended on October 22. Water quality data collected by our citizen scientists is posted on the Friends of the Bay website at http://friendsofthebay.org/?page_id=1151. The season will resume on April 1, 2013.

News

The Oyster Bay Charitable Fund and the Oyster Bay Rotary Club hosted the annual Oyster Festival “Kick-Off” press conference on Friday, Aug. 15 at the flagpole in Theodore Roosevelt Park.

In attendance were NY State Senator Carl Marcelino and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, both Honorary Oyster Festival Chairmen; Oyster Bay Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr.; Oyster Bay Town Councilman Chris J. Coshignano; Oyster Bay Town Councilwoman Michelle Johnson; Oyster Bay Town Councilman Joseph Pinto; Oyster Bay Rotary President Judy Wasilchuk; Verizon Title Sponsor Representative, Director of Government Affairs Patrick Lespinasse; Executive Director, h2empower, African Studies Specialist Helen Boxwill; Oyster Festival Sports Representative James Werner; Long Island Rough Riders Representative Sarah Culmo and Emcee Harlan Friedman.

The 31st annual Oyster Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

A lot of people think that our world would be better off without all of the insects in it. Not so, according to Lois Lindberg, volunteer naturalist at the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. Lindberg and fellow naturalist Wendy Albin gave a presentation about the importance of butterflies and insects in our ecosystem at the site of Theodore Roosevelt’s former home on Saturday, Aug. 23, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

“Butterflies and other insects are very important in nature,” said Lindberg. “People see bees, wasps and ants and other insects as pests, but they actually contribute to our ecosystem by each doing their own unique job. They pollinate the flowers and fruits and without them we would not be able to eat a lot of the stuff we eat every day.”


Sports

Picture-perfect weather was on board for the Mill Neck Family of Organizations’ Third Annual Sail the Sound for Deafness Regatta on Thursday, Aug. 7. The event, featuring an evening race of yachts, followed by a cocktail party, was held to benefit the organization that serves individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have other special needs.

In this year’s race, fifteen sailors took to the waters of Oyster Bay Harbor; three aboard their own boats, others on several boats provided by Oakcliff Sailing Center. The WaterFront Center’s oyster sloop, Christeen and two vessels from Oyster Bay Marine Center, brought a total of 45 spectators out to watch the race.

Kevin Mercier, 39, of Oyster Bay, led a large contingent of local runners in the Lynne, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9. Mercier was the 18th finisher overall and third in the 35-39 age group with a time of  21 minutes, 7 seconds.

Other local runners winning awards at the Sands Point Preserve were Nicholas Cuddy of Oyster Bay, who earned first place honors in the Clydesdale Weight Division with a time of 25:53, Joanne Gallo of Oyster Bay, who  took home the first place award in the women’s 65-69 age group with a time of 28:11, and Anja Hermann of Oyster Bay, third place woman in the 20-24 age group, who finished in 28:47.


Calendar

Movie at the Library

Thursday, August 28

Sagamore Hill Walk

Saturday, August 30

Hooks and Needles

Tuesday, September 2



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com