The "Buresh Blog" will take some time off - next post will be Aug. 6th, BUT "Talking the Tropics With Mike" will continue to be updated every day! -- click here.
Earth Gauge: The Benefits of Green Roofs
Many of our homes, buildings, roads and sidewalks are virtually waterproof – scientists believe that together, these “impervious surfaces” would cover all of France with ease! Pollutants build up on impervious surfaces until rainwater washes them into waterways, where they can harm sensitive habitats. Once in these ecosystems, pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus can generate harmful algal blooms that block life-giving sunlight, suck up oxygen and sometimes release toxins that sicken or even kill aquatic wildlife. Luckily, there are some solutions to this problem, and one example is called a “green roof.” By blanketing a rooftop with vegetation, the plants and soils will trap, absorb and clean rainwater before it runs off into the environment.
Tip: In addition to managing stormwater, green roofs can benefit your home in many other ways, including improving the overall appearance of your home. Green roofs can:
· Reduce your energy costs – green roofs insulate buildings by absorbing heat and that reduces the amount of energy your home needs to maintain a comfortable temperature.
· Reduce the heat island effect – In the dog days of summer, rooftop temperatures can be up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the actual air temperature. That means that on a 95 degree day, your rooftop could be as hot as 185°F! If you’ve installed a green roof, not only will its temperature be lower, but it may be even cooler than the air around it!
Learn more about green roofs -- click here.
(Sources: Elvidge, Christopher D., 2007. “Global Distribution and Density of Constructed Impervious Surfaces.” Sensors: 7, 1962-1979; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Green Roofs.” Accessed Online May 22, 2012)
Climate Fact: United States Temperature Trends
In Brief: The United States has experienced a 1.2 degree Fahrenheit warming trend since 1895, with the winter months and February in particular showing the largest positive temperature trends.
The United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) is a dataset based on 1,218 quality controlled temperature and precipitation reporting stations, most of which are from NOAA’s Cooperative Observers Program (COOP). These stations were selected out of the larger network of COOP stations because of the completeness of their records and relative lack of potential biases caused by changes in instrumentation or conditions in the surrounding landscape. The best analysis of the data from these stations suggests a warming trend of about 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit for the contiguous United States since 1895, with a period of cooling from the 1940s until about 1970. About 0.2 degrees of this warming can be attributed to the urban warming effect. The urban warming effect results from the urban heat island effect, the tendency for cities to be warmer than surrounding rural areas because of more concrete and other dark surfaces that easily absorb and retain heat, coupled with the fact that the United States has significantly urbanized over the past century. The surface temperature increase can primarily be attributed to warming during the winter months, with February showing the largest warming trend. September showed the smallest trend, although every month showed a warming trend. The three warmest years on record are 1998, 2006 and 1934, while the coolest years on record are 1917, 1895 and 1912. With a duration of 21 months, the 1916-1918 La Niña event, the strongest on record from 1895 to 1998, helped make 1917 the coldest year on record.
(Source: Shen, SSP et al. “Uncertainties, Trends, and Hottest and Coldest Years of U.S. Surface Air Temperature since 1895: An Update Based on the USHCN V2 TOB Data.” Journal of Climate 25 (2012): 4185-4203.)
Climate in the News: Hoekstra, Gordon. “Hydro struggles to manage historic water levels.” – The Vancouver Sun, July 20, 2012.
Heavy winter snow and record breaking June precipitation have led to a historic water levels for British Columbia dams. By Sunday, July 22, the Columbia River was expected to reach its highest level since the dams were built.
MORE THAN A MONTH AFTER TROPICAL STORM DEBBY, $21 MILLION APPROVED FOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE IN FLORIDA
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - More than a month after Tropical Storm Debby soaked Florida, $21 million in state and federal aid has been approved to help those affected by the storm and flooding.
More than 12,000 survivors have contacted the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help or information regarding disaster assistance. Many people are seeking housing assistance from FEMA because their primary home is unlivable or inaccessible.
For survivors who have needs other than federal assistance, the FEMA helpline (800-621-3362) serves as a single source of information - referring survivors to partner agencies such as the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Other callers may be interested in disaster unemployment assistance or legal aid. Businesses are also referred to the SBA.
The following is a snapshot of the disaster recovery effort as of July 27:
· 4,190 households approved for FEMA grants that assist with housing and personal property loss.
$14.8 million approved for housing grants, including short-term rental assistance, home repair and replacement costs.
$1.9 million approved to cover other essential disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.
$4.3 million approved for SBA low-interest disaster loans to help repair homes and replace damaged personal property.
9,233 home inspections completed.
6,721 visits to disaster recovery centers by people affected by the disaster.
People who have insurance are urged to apply for help because they may be underinsured. They can use any of the following methods:
By phone, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Assistance is available in most languages. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (TTY) 800-462-7585.
Online -- here.
By tablet or smartphone, use the FEMA app or go to here.
Businesses that need help may contact the U.S. Small Business Administration directly at the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339), send an email to email@example.com or go to -- here -- to apply.
"I know a lot of you will be up Sunday night/ Monday morning to follow the rover's progress. Many of you may have seen the "Seven Minutes of Terror" video that recounts the many technological challenges that Curiosity must overcome to reach the Martian surface. The reward: unprecedented science, demonstration of precision landing technology, and a mission on the Red Planet's surface that will serve as a precursor to our planned human missions to Mars in the 2030s." Click ** here ** for all the info & mission updates.......