The "Buresh Blog" will take some time off & return Thu., Dec. 6th. Time to decorate & prepare for the holidays - 'tis the season! Stay safe & may the spirit of the season fill your heart...........
We turn the calendars to Dec., but it'll feel like anything but Dec. through midweek. Highs will generally be in the 70s (not far from 80 degrees well inland at times) & lows in the 50s. The only "concern" will be areas of late night/morning fog & isolated showers moving inland from the Atlantic from time to time.
So here are your avg. Dec. #'s at JIA:
Low / High 47 / 70 42 / 65
Sunrise/Sunset 7:06am / 5:26pm 7:23am / 5:37pm (lose 6 min. of daylight)
As I've posted about the past week or two, our Salvation Army is busy ringing the red kettle bell through Christmas Eve. All money raised locally goes into local programs right here in Jax & NE Fl. Not only is the money going to good local use ("Doing the Most Good"), it's money well spent. 85 cents of every dollar goes straight into the work of the Salvation Army (vs. overhead, salaries, etc). One great example was featured on the front page of the Times-Union Fri. Click ** here ** to read a story about a deaf man's strugges to be heard. Click here to donate to the Action News Salvation Army's virtual kettle -- THANK YOU!
Earth Gauge: Efficient Holiday Lighting
Energy use in the United States typically increases during the holiday season. At this time of year, festive holiday lights that decorate homes and neighborhoods across the country can drive up energy demand and home energy bills.
Tip: Hold on to the holiday spirit while saving energy and money this season. Look for holiday lights that have earned the Energy Star, which means they meet strict energy efficiency guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Many Energy Star labeled strands use light emitting diodes (LEDs), which are more efficient than their traditional incandescent counterparts:
· Energy-saving: Energy Star light strands use about 70 percent less energy than conventional incandescent lights. The amount of energy used by just one incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs – that’s enough lights for two 24-foot strings!
· Long-lived: LED light strands last up to 10 times longer than traditional strands.
· Safer: LED lights stay cool to the touch, which reduces the risk of fire.
Add a timer to your holiday lighting display to save even more energy. Set the timer to turn lights on at night and off during the day.
Learn more about efficient holiday lighting from Energy Star.
(Source: Energy Star. “Decorative Light Strings.”)
Climate Fact: Wildfire in the Southeastern United States
Link ** here **
In Brief: Humans have been intentionally setting fire to the landscapes of the South for over 12,000 years, directly influencing the evolution of the region’s ecosystems and obscuring the role that climate variability has played over the same period.
People have been intentionally setting fire to the ecosystems of the southeastern United States for the entire post-glacial period of the last 12,000 years. Early cultures used fire to hunt ice age megafauna (Wooly Mammoths, Giant Sloths, Mastodons, etc.) and continued this practice with smaller game after they went extinct. By around 8,000 years ago, people in the South began using fire to maintain more favorable habitat types: edge habitats for deer, canebrakes where materials for weapons and lodging grew, open areas favorable to species like blueberries, and in Appalachia, fire tolerant oak communities for acorn production. Beginning around 2,300 years ago, burning was used to clear lands to adopt more sedentary and crop-dependent life styles. The frequent use of fire to shape the landscape continued by the European settlers, who used fire for many of the same reasons, with the additional purpose of creating better forage for grazing. It was not until the 20th century that human encouragement of fire in the South transitioned into human suppression of fire. Along the coastal plain, fire suppression likely contributed to the loss of old-growth longleaf pine ecosystems, considered America’s most biodiverse habitat type and now 95 percent gone. In the Appalachians, fire suppression has led to the replacement of fire-dependent oaks and pines by maples and beeches.
Versus the climatic influence, the direct human influence has likely had a stronger impact on wildfire occurrence in the South over the past 12,000 years. Despite this, some general statements about the climate fire relationship in the South can be made:
· Burning peaks in the spring and fall, when lack of leaves on deciduous trees allow sunlight to dry surface fuels and low humidity and high winds encourage fire ignition and spread. There is a lull in fire activity during the winter, particularly in the more northern sections of the South.
· As is the case throughout the world, the variability of precipitation is as important for fire occurrence as the total annual precipitation. For example, the DeSoto National Forest in Mississippi is one of the wettest locations in the South in terms of average annual precipitation, but this annual average obscures the significant variability that leads to periods with abundant moisture and ample plant growth being followed by dry periods when this growth dries and creates just the right conditions for a burn. The South is now wetter than it was 100 years ago, with most of the increase in precipitation coming in extreme rainfall events. The average duration of warm season dry episodes grew as well.
· In Virginia and West Virginia, fire is more frequent in the Blue Ridge province than in the much drier Ridge and Valley province to its west, as well as much more frequent than in the Appalachian Plateau to the west of the Ridge and Valley province. Dry conditions in the rain shadowed Ridge and Valley province do not allow for fuel build-up and the consistent and light rain events in the Appalachian Plateau mean that fuels rarely are allowed to dry.
· The warm, humid and possibly wetter conditions of the middle Holocene (about 6,000 to 3,000 years ago) correspond to a period of reduced fire in the South.
(Sources: Lafon, CW and Quiring, SM. “Relationships of Fire and Precipitation Regimes in Temperate Forests of the Eastern United States.” Earth Interactions 16 (2012): 1-15 and Batzer, DP and Baldwin, AH (eds.). “Wetlands of the Northern Gulf Coast” in Wetland Habitats of North America: Ecology and Conservation Issues. Berkeley, California: 2012. University of California Press and Mitchell, RJ and Duncan, SJ. “Range of Variability in Southern Coastal Plain Forests: Its Historical, Contemporary, and Future Role in Sustaining Biodiversity.” Ecology and Society 14 (2009): 17-33 and Lafon, CW. “Fire in the American South: Vegetation Impacts, History, and Climatic Relations.” Geography Compass 4/8 (2010): 919-944 and Folwer, C and Konopick, E. “The History of Fire in the Southern United States.” Human Ecology Review 14 (2007): 165-176.)
Climate in the News: “Pine beetles so widespread they’re contributing to climate change: study.” – Ottawa Citizen, November 25, 2012 – Brown forest areas full of trees killed by pine beetles are warmer than areas with living trees due to more evaporative cooling in the green areas.