I'm out for some much needed time off....so the "Buresh Blog" will take a break too....returning Mon., April 8th.
NOAA and state and federal agencies that participate in the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program are partnering again this year for National Tsunami Preparedness Week. During the week, NOAA urges coastal residents and visitors to be prepared for a tsunami and encourages communities to become TsunamiReady. For more info., click ** here **.
"Improvements in the accuracy and timeliness of tsunami warnings and the way we communicate the threat will help the public stay safe," said Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "But this information can save lives and property only if individuals and communities know when and how to take proper action. Collective and individual preparedness is key to building a Weather-Ready Nation."
NOAA, the lead agency for tsunami detection and warnings in the United States, manages an expanded network of tide gauges and tsunami buoys and monitors seismic stations throughout the world's oceans to detect tsunamis. If a tsunami threat is detected, NOAA tsunami warning centers broadcast alerts over an advanced telecommunications infrastructure.
Communication and education are important parts of the tsunami warning system. Through NOAA's TsunamiReady program, the National Weather Service works with communities to complete a set of rigorous guidelines necessary to become better prepared for a tsunami. Actions include developing a tsunami safety plan and communications infrastructure, installing tsunami hazard zones and evacuation signs, as well as actively promoting tsunami safety through public awareness activities and training. Becoming TsunamiReady can help minimize loss to a community.
Every one of us can prepare for tsunamis by following these guidelines:
Know the warning signs of a tsunami
• A strong earthquake
• A sudden rise or fall of the ocean tide
• A loud, roaring sound (like an airplane or a train) coming from the ocean
• Stay informed by having multiple sources for weather/tsunami alerts such as a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards and Weather.gov. And, sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials and news outlets.
Take action, respond to the signs or warning of a tsunami
• Move inland to higher ground, or into a tall building immediately and stay there
• Stay away from the beach until officials advise it is safe to return.
Be an Example
• Once you have taken action tell family, friends, and co-workers to do the same through your social media network. Technology today makes it easier than ever to be a good example and share the vision of a Weather-Ready Nation.
"We don't know when the next tsunami will occur, but when it does, our resiliency and ability to respond depends on being prepared before it happens," said Uccellini.
NOAA, U.S. Census report finds increases in coastal population growth by 2020 likely, putting more people at risk of extreme weather
If current population trends continue, the already crowded U.S. coast will see population grow from 123 million people to nearly 134 million people by 2020, putting more of the population at increased risk from extreme coastal storms like Sandy and Isaac, which severely damaged infrastructure and property last year.
The projection comes from a new report released today from NOAA with input from the U.S. Census Bureau.
According to the report, which analyzed data from the 2010 census, 39 percent of the U.S. population is concentrated in counties directly on the shoreline--less than 10 percent of the total U.S. land area excluding Alaska, and that 52 percent of the total population lives in counties that drain to coastal watersheds, less than 20 percent of U.S. land area, excluding Alaska. A coastal watershed is an area in which water, sediments, and dissolved material drain to a common coastal outlet, like a bay or the ocean).
The National Coastal Population Report: Populations Trends from 1970 to 2020, issued in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, updates and expands a 2004 report that detailed and projected coastal population trends from 1980 to 2008.
"People who live near the shore, and managers of these coastal communities, should be aware of how this population growth may affect their coastal areas over time," said Holly Bamford, Ph.D., assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service. "As more people move to the coast, county managers will see a dual challenge--protecting a growing population from coastal hazards, as well as protecting coastal ecosystems from a growing population."
This report offers coastal managers and other users, for the first time, two perspectives on population growth along the U.S. coast--the traditional perspective that looks at status and trends throughout counties that drain to coastal watersheds, called Coastal Watershed Counties, and a newer focus that focuses only on those counties that directly border the coast, including the Great Lakes.
"Understanding the demographic context of coastal areas is vital for our nation and helps us to meet the challenges of tomorrow. To help inform policymakers and the public through this report, the Census Bureau developed a new measure of coastal populations," said James Fitzsimmons, assistant chief of the Census Bureau's population division.
Coastal population statistics in the overall total of 769 Coastal Watershed Counties provide context for coastal water quality and coastal ecosystem health related issues, and data from the 452 of those counties that lie directly on the shoreline, called Coastal Shoreline Counties, can be used to talk about coastal resilience, coastal hazards, and other ocean-resource dependent issues.
The coastal shoreline county data was developed with input from both the U.S. Census Bureau and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"Whether you're talking about watershed counties or shoreline counties, the coast is substantially more crowded than the U.S. as a whole," said report editor Kristen Crossett of NOAA's National Ocean Service. "Population density in shoreline counties is more than six times greater than the corresponding inland counties. And the projected growth in coastal areas will increase population density at a faster rate than the country as a whole."
The report also found that from 1970 to 2010, Coastal Shoreline Counties population increased by 39 percent, and Coastal Watershed Counties population increased by 45 percent.
The report is available on NOAA's State of the Coast website -- click here for quick facts and more detailed statistics through interactive maps, case studies, and management success stories that highlight what is known about coastal communities, coastal ecosystems, and the coastal economy and about how climate change might impact the coast.
Earth Gauge: AC Check-Up
Spring is the perfect time to give your home cooling equipment a check-up. Fixing any problems now will help you avoid air-conditioning problems when hot weather arrives for good. And, well-maintained air conditioning systems cool more efficiently, saving energy and money.
Viewer Tip: You can perform a cooling system check-up yourself or ask a professional for help. According to EPA’s Energy Star program, a typical check-up should include:
• Tightening electrical connections. Faulty connections can be unsafe and reduce the life of your system.
• Lubricating moving parts. This reduces friction in motors and increases energy efficiency.
• Checking the condensate drain. A plugged drain can affect indoor humidity levels and cause water damage in your home.
• Checking system controls for safe operation. Make sure your system starts, stops and operates as it should.
• Cleaning air conditioning coils. This increases energy efficiency and prolongs the life of the equipment.
• Checking refrigerant level and adjusting if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant can affect system efficiency.
• Cleaning and adjusting blower components for good airflow. Problems with airflow can reduce an air conditioning system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent!
(Source: Energy Star. “Maintenance Checklist.”)
Climate Fact: What Science Knows and Doesn’t Know About Extreme Weather
Even though extreme weather events can be notoriously unpredictable, some things are coming into focus. In 2011, the U.S. had more weather-related billion-dollar disasters (14) than at any other point in its recorded history, and the losses from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy and drought may prove to be even costlier. Our climate’s mean conditions and extremes are certainly changing, but it’s still difficult to detect multi-decadal trends in extreme weather and attribute their causes accurately. This motivated 18 scientists from around the country to publish a status report of what science knows and doesn’t know in terms of ability to detect, analyze and understand changes in severe weather.
What They Know
• Extreme Precipitation: Scientists have amassed robust observational evidence that extreme precipitation events have become more frequent and intense over time. While they’re not sure what’s driving these trends, more and more research is showing that larger quantities of atmospheric water vapor are certainly part of the equation.
• Severe Snow Storms and Ice Storms: There have been twice as many extreme snowstorms in the past half century as there were in the preceding one, but since 1900, no significant changes in their U.S. distribution were detected. The long-term pattern of ice storms cannot be adequately resolved at this time, however.
What They Don’t Know
• Severe Thunderstorms: Detecting multi-decadal trends for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and hailstorms is extremely difficult because the verification and reporting methods of these events have changed over time, leading to “most, if not all” of the reported frequency changes for these events. The authors searched for long-terms changes in the environmental conditions that favor severe thunderstorm development, but they did not find any statistically compelling trends.
• Hurricanes and Typhoons: Extratropical cyclones are still mysterious phenomena across long time scales because their historical records have been dramatically influenced by technological advances and varying methodologies of data analysis. Additionally, scientists haven’t been able to quantify the natural variability of these events and their physical linkages to climate forces remain uncertain.
(Sources: Kunkel, K.E. et al. 2012, “Monitoring and Understanding Trends in Extreme Storms: State of Knowledge.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-02262.1, in press)
Climate in the News: Idelbrook, C. “Climate swings put heat on Maine’s syrup makers to start earlier, think smarter” – Bangor Daily News, March 22, 2013 – Fluctuating weather and climate conditions affect the timing and success of the maple syrup season in Maine and other northeastern states.