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Weather Pattern Change... Shocking(!) Lightning Video... "Earth Gauge": Water Quality, Volcanic Eruptions, Marine Life

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Updated: 9/06/2013 11:32 pm

With the arrival of the weekend comes a weather pattern change. Winds have shifted & will blow off the Atlantic from the east/northeast through the weekend & deep into next week. Such a pattern will:

-- bring an elevated rip current risk to area beaches

-- push isolated to widely scattered showers onshore -- mostly coastal in the morning...trending inland in the afternoon

-- turn mostly dry by later Sun. into early next week

--  not be quite as hot or quite as humid with afternoon highs ranging from the mid 80s at the beaches to lower 90s inland......lows will dip into the 60s inland but remain in the mid to upper 70s at the beaches.

Our stormy week culminated with big time Fri. afternoon storms near & west of I-95. Sandra Raz sent in the pic below of a tree dropped near Black Creek in Clay Co. The photo below is from Bernie Stock. He was mowing his lawn when the storm popped just about overhead. Bernie caputured some shocking(!) video -- click ** here **.

Earth Gauge: National Water Quality

Did you know that a typical city block generates more than five times as much rainwater runoff as a forested area of the same size?  This is because rooftops and pavement don’t allow water to soak into the ground like forests, wetlands and grasslands do.  Instead, rainwater  runs off pavement into the nearest storm drain, where it’s transported to local streams, rivers and eventually the ocean. On its way to the storm drain, rainwater picks up pollutants like oil, antifreeze, pet waste, fertilizers and pesticides.  In most places, storm water does not get treated, so all of those pollutants end up in local waters.

Tip: Try to protect water quality where you live:

  • Don’t over-water your lawn. Over-watering can increase the flow of fertilizers deep into soils and eventually groundwater supplies, which are an important drinking water source.  Walk on your lawn to find out if it is thirsty – if your footprints remain, it is time to water.
  • Wait for dry weather. Check the forecast before applying fertilizers, pesticides and other lawn care chemicals.
  • Pick up trash and pet waste. Make sure your trash always goes in the trash can or recycle bin. Put pet waste in the trash or flush it down the toilet. When walking your dog, try to stay away from streams and other waterways.  Walk your pet in grassy areas instead.
  • Use rain barrels. Rain barrels are a great way to catch rain water off running off of your roof. Instead of flowing to the storm drain, the water collected can be used to water garden plants or wash windows and cars. Be sure to check local regulations before installing a rain barrel – some areas have laws that prohibit them.

(Sources:  EPA, “Nutrient Pollution”; EPA, “Act: In and Around Your Home”; EPA, “Monitoring and Assessing Water Quality”)

Climate Fact: Volcanic Eruptions: Impacts on Climate and Aviation 

Did you know the United States has over 160 active volcanoes, ranking among the highest number in the world?  During the last 32 years, 107 eruptions were reported at 32 volcanoes in the United States. There are three main regions of volcanic activity in the United States: Alaska, the Cascades Range (southern British Columbia to northern California) and Hawaii. Currently, click ** here ** for active volcanoes in the United States. There are live webcams - click ** here ** at some volcanoes.

Volcanic eruptions produce magmatic material (stones or ash) and gases, such as carbon dioxide and sulfur.  Volcanic eruptions have important effects:

  • Sulfur aerosols reflect sunlight back to space, lowering temperatures. Large eruptions like Mount Pinatubo (1991) can impact global temperature. Pinatubo released a 20 million ton sulfur dioxide cloud into the stratosphere – the largest since satellite observation began – that cooled the Earth’s surface over three years by as much 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit!
  • Volcanic ash impacts daylight and temperature in nearby areas. When Mount St. Helens erupted it was so dark that streetlights were on during the middle of the day and the air temperature remained at 59 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 straight hours.
  • Volcanic gases destroy the ozone layer, increasing ultraviolet radiation on our planet. 

Volcanic eruptions also impact industries such as aviation. In 2010, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano caused the biggest closure of European airspace since World War II, adding up to a loss of 2.6 billion dollars. Eruptions form ash clouds difficult to distinguish from regular clouds by air traffic control and aircraft weather radars. Volcanic ash reduces visibility, damages flight control systems, causes jet engines to fail and accelerates wear on aircraft components. Volcanic ash travels long distances and can circle the globe in a matter of weeks.

(Source: Diefenbach, A. “Re: Volcanic activity and eruptions 1980-2012”. Message to the author. 30 July 2013. Email. and Robock, A. 2000. Volcanic Eruptions and Climate. Reviews of Geophysics 38(2):191-219 and Textor, C., H. Graf, C. Timmreck, and A. Robock. “Emissions from Volcanoes” Emissions of Chemical Compounds and Aerosols in the Atmosphere. Granier, C., C. Reeves, and P. Artaxo. 2003. 7-32. and  United States Geological Survey. 2010. Airborne Volcanic Ash-A Global Threat to Aviation. Accessed online 30 July 2013.  and Oxford Economics. The Economic Impacts of Air Travel Restrictions Due to Volcanic Ash. Accessed online 30 July 2013.  and Mother Nature Network. 2010. Which U.S. Volcanoes are Likely to Erupt Next. Accessed online 31 July 2013.  and United States Geological Survey.)

Climate in the News: “Impact Of Climate Change On Marine Life Analyzed By International Research Team” – redOrbit, August 5, 2013  – Rising ocean temperatures are forcing marine species to alter their breeding times and shift their geographic distribution towards the poles.

Have a great & safe weekend!

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