Windy Saturday....still breezy Sun. along with a few showers both days, especially Sat. Be extra careful at area beaches as the strong onshore flow will help cause rip currents & rough seas & surf.
Earth Gauge: October is Children’s Health Month
Did you know that children may be more vulnerable to environmental exposures and hazards than adults? This is because children’s bodies are still developing and growing; they eat, drink and breathe in more in proportion to their body size than adults do; and they tend to spend more time outside.
Tip: October is Children’s Health Month! You can protect children’s health with these simple tips:
· Check the air quality forecast. If air quality is poor and your child suffers from asthma, consider rescheduling sports games and other outdoor activities for another day. If you do go outside, aim for early morning or evening hours, when air pollution levels are likely to be lower. You can view the air quality forecast ** here **.
· Use sunscreen. About 23 percent of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV radiation occurs before age 18, so it’s especially important to protect children from sun exposure. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 that provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Apply sunscreen liberally and often, and wear protective clothing – hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirt, and pants. Remember that it is possible to burn on a cold or cloudy day, even when the sun doesn’t seem bright.
· Walk or bike to school. Almost half of all students walked or biked to school in 1960 – today that number is less than 15 percent. Walking or biking to school can help address a variety of health problems, including obesity, diabetes and asthma. It also cuts down on traffic – and air pollution – around schools. Map a safe route ** here **.
· Burn wisely. The distinctive smell of wood smoke is a sign of the heating season. It may smell good, but wood smoke can impact indoor air quality and health. Make sure your chimney is clean and only use seasoned wood for burning. If you burn wood at home – even occasionally – install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to keep you and your family safe.
For more Children’s Health Month tips, visit ** here **.
(Sources: “Health Effects of Bad Air.”; The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Skin Cancer Facts.”; EPA. “Children’s Health Month 2010: Healthy Communities for Healthy Children.”; U.S. Burn Wise: Consumers – Best Burn Practices.)
Climate Trivia: Decay and Rising Temperature
Link -- here.
Living organic matter has its origins in the atmosphere: energy from the Sun enables plants and some microbes to build sugars out of water and atmospheric carbon dioxide. These sugars ultimately feed the rest of life on Earth. When an organism, or a part of an organism such as a leaf, dies, it decomposes and sends the carbon that made up its body back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. In a static climate, this carbon cycle is generally in balance, with about as much carbon dioxide being taken up each year as is released back into the atmosphere. When the climate changes, however, so does the carbon cycle. Of particular interest are the rates of decay of different types of dead plant matter (deciduous leaves, conifer needles, grasses, twigs, wheat stalks, etc.), and how these rates will respond to warmer temperatures.
Trivia Question: As temperatures warm, what happens to the rates at which different types of plant matter decompose?
a. All types of plant matter decompose slower.
b. Plant matter in colder climates, such as northern conifer forests and tundra, decompose faster. Plant matter in the tropics decomposes slower.
c. It all depends on the type of plant! Rates of broadleaf decomposition increase, while decomposition rates of tougher materials like conifer needles and twigs don’t change much.
d. Everything decomposes faster.
The correct answer is d. While the increases in the rate of decomposition of tough bits of organic matter like needles and twigs are not as dramatic compared to the increases in the rates for things like oak and maple leaves, everything decomposes faster as temperatures warm. A study of 27 North American ecosystems from the Alaskan tundra to Panamanian rainforests showed that while decomposition processes were highly diverse, being influenced by things like local differences in soil microbial communities and mineral composition, all ecosystems responded to increased temperatures with faster rates of organic matter decay.
(Source: Forney, DC and Rothman, DH. “Common structure in the heterogeneity of plant-matter decay.” Journal of the Royal Society Interface 9 (2012): 2255-2267.)