Written by Patricia Aitken Friday, 18 January 2013 00:00The 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.
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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.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
Dodds and Eder will be hosting a wine and cheese reception on Saturday, May 18 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at their Sag Harbor location to showcase the work of Plein Air Peconic, an artist group dedicated to helping the Peconic Land Trust conserve the natural beauty of the East End. The reception will showcase “At Home in the Natural World” an exhibition and sale of landscape paintings and photographs. The exhibition is on view at Dodds and Eder, which is open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Many of the paintings and photographs in the show are larger works composed in the studio from field studies of preserved sites. By painting and photographing images of conserved land and other spaces of the East End, the artists call attention to what has already been accomplished by land conservation and the continuing need to protect these vital resources from unchecked development.
Friday, 17 May 2013 00:00
A large crowd of almost 100 people gathered at 95 Shore Road in Cold Spring Harbor on Saturday, April 27 to celebrate the completion of the environmental clean up at the former Exxon Mobil site. The 8-acre waterfront parcel, where the oil tanks once stood, was donated to the North Shore Land Alliance for conservation purposes.
On a sunny picture-perfect spring afternoon, Land Alliance officers and staff were joined by elected officials, including State Senator Carl Marcellino, Huntington Town Councilmen Mark Cuthbertson and Mark Mayoka, Heather Amster, Region 1, New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and community members to thank ExxonMobil for this valuable gift.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, more than five million Americans are suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Troubled by these statistics and personally affected, Long Islander and NBA draftee Gordon Thomas founded the Alzheimer’s All-Star Basketball Classic Committee, a group of professionals dedicated to raising awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
Ronald Caronia, MD, a glaucoma and cataract surgeon and partner of Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island (OCLI) with Tom Burke, CEO of OCLI, participated in the first annual American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) Foundation’s “Run for Sight” 5K and 1-mile walk during the ASCRS/ASOA Annual Symposium and Congress in San Francisco. Dr. Caronia hails from Oyster Bay Cove and Mr. Burke is a resident of Islip.
The ASCRS partnered with TearLabs to host this first-ever “Run for Sight” event. It took place on Sunday, April 21 near the beautiful Japanese botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park. The event raised close to $25,000. All proceeds from the race will benefit the ASCRS Foundation’s cataract blindness treatment efforts.