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Weekend: Very Warm & Humid, Scattered Storms, Rip Currents... "Supermoon"... "Earth Gauge": Pollinators, Glaciology, 2012 Disaster Costs

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Updated: 6/21/2013 10:42 pm

2-4" of rain across the parts of Southwest Jax Fri. afternoon.  Check out the photos below.  The first from Dennis Walters from a high-rise in Jax looking toward the distant storms....photos 2 & 3 from Jennifer C. as she was crossing the Buckman Bridge.

More of the same for the weekend:
-- partly cloudy
-- very warm & humid
-- a few late morning showers & storms closer to the coast transitioning inland in the afternoon
-- where storms occur, there will be very heavy downpours
-- be aware of an enhanced rip current risk at area beaches due to a long fetch of onshore east/southeast winds.

Radar imagery below courtesy our Jax N.W.S.:

If you take some photos of the "supermoon" (closest to the earth the satellite will be all year) Sun. evening -- rises @ 8:49pm -- send them to weather@actionnewsjax.com

Earth Gauge: Protecting Pollinators
The next time you bite into a slice of melon or take a sip of coffee, think about this: Worldwide, about 1000 plants used for food, beverages, spices, fibers and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to grow the foods and products we depend on.  About 75 percent of all plants, including those in our yards, gardens and parks,  depend on pollinators. Pollinators – hummingbirds, bats, beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies and other small animals – help plants reproduce by transporting pollen within a flower or between flowers, resulting in healthy fruits and fertile seeds.
Tip: Home gardens in urban, suburban and rural areas can play an important role in providing habitat for pollinators and protecting them from threats. During National Pollinator Week, June 17-23, 2013, use these tips to create a pollinator-friendly garden habitat.

• Plant a variety of plants that bloom from early spring to late fall. Planting in clumps will help pollinators find plants. Choose plants that are native to your region (find regional planting guides here), meaning that they are adapted to local climate, soil and pollinator species. Including plants that bloom at night will attract bats and moths.
• Reduce or eliminate pesticide use. If you must use a pesticide in your yard or garden, use the least toxic product possible. Pesticides can be particularly harmful to bees, so read the product label carefully and apply it at night, when bees and many other pollinators are not active.
• Create bee habitat. Leaving a dead tree or tree limb in your yard provides nesting habitat for bees (make sure dead trees/limbs are not safety hazards for people working below them). You can also create a “bee condo” by drilling holes of various sizes about three to five inches deep in a piece of scrap lumber. Mount the lumber to a post or under eaves with southern exposure.
• Provide nectar for hummingbirds. Make nectar by combining four parts water to one part table sugar (do not use honey, artificial sweeteners or fruit juices). Add something red to the feeder to attract hummingbirds, and be sure to clean the feeder with hot, soapy water twice a week.
• Learn more about pollinators. Visit The Pollinator Partnership website to learn more about National Pollinator Week, get fast facts about pollinators, access garden guides and more.

(Sources: The Pollinator Partnership. “Garden Guide for Pollinators.”; “Fast Facts for Gardeners.”)

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Climate Fact: Better Glaciology Sharpens Focus on Sea Level Rise

In the six years since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its last assessment report, better models and satellite observations have let scientists refine their estimates of glacial and ice sheet contributions to sea level rise.  These advances show that the Greenland ice sheet is losing ice to the ocean at an increasing pace: in 2012, the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet melted more than ever before.  In fact, scientists believe that 70 percent of the sea level rise coming from melted ice sheets (West Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, and Greenland) is attributable to Greenland alone.  These same scientific advancements have also led scientists to reduce their estimate of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise.

New glacial isostatic adjustment models (models, verified by GPS, that measure how much Earth’s surface rebounds in the absence of heavy ice) have convinced scientists to reduce estimates of Antarctica’s sea level rise contributions.  It’s now unclear if East Antarctica has gained or lost ice over the past 20 years, but the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica are both losing ice at a moderate pace, particularly in response to warmer ocean currents melting the ice sheet edges from below.  In addition, the ocean has expanded in response to rising temperatures, especially in its top 700 meters, and scientists believe this “thermal expansion” has been the largest contributor to sea level rise.  However, ice sheets are contributing a comparable amount to sea level rise, and their impact is increasing with time.  New research shows that glaciers and ice caps are not far behind, either.

(Source: Hanna, Edward et al. 2013, “Ice-sheet mass balance and climate change,” Nature, 498:7452, doi: 10.1038/nature12238.)

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Climate in the News: “NCDC Releases 2012 Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters Information” – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – click ** here **.

2012 saw 11 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding one billion dollars in damages – the second costliest year since 1980.  Events included seven severe weather and tornado events, two tropical cyclones, the yearlong drought, and its associated wildfires.

Have a great & safe weekend!
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