Written by Patricia Aitken Friday, 18 January 2013 00:00The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just issued its monthly State of the Climate Report, which said, “2012 was the warmest and second most extreme year on record for the contiguous U.S.” The extreme weather experienced in the lower 48 included drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms, although there was less tornado activity than average.
According to the statistics compiled by NOAA, 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. “The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year. Every state in the contiguous U.S. had an above-average annual temperature for 2012. Nineteen states had a record warm year and an additional 26 states had one of their 10 warmest.
The average precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 26.57 inches; 2.57 inches below average, making it the 15th driest year on record for the nation. At its peak in July, the drought of 2012 engulfed 61 percent of the nation with the Mountain West, Great Plains, and Midwest experiencing the most intense drought conditions. The dry conditions proved ideal for wildfires in the West, charring 9.2 million acres — the third highest on record.”
As residents of the Gulf Coast and the Northeast know to our great regret, Hurricane Isaac, which struck in late August of 2012, and Hurricane Sandy in October caused billions of dollars in damage. Wildfires, including the Waldo Canyon Fire near Boulder, burned 9.2 million acres.
The United States is not the only country being impacted by extreme weather. According to the Wall Street Journal, the temperatures are so hot in Australia that deep purple and magenta are now on the Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast map for the country. Purple is for temperatures ranging from 50 degrees celsius to 52 degrees (122 to 125.6 Fahrenheit), while magenta is for 52 degrees to 54 degrees. Temperatures soared to a national record average of 40.33 degrees on Jan. 7, the highest since records began more than 100 years ago, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. The previous record of 40.17 degrees was set Dec. 21, 1972. The extreme heat has also sparked a spate of bush fires through the southeastern part of the country, destroying property, livestock and crops.
The island nation of Kiribati is buying 5,000 acres of land on the second-largest island in Fiji, Vanau Levu. The situation is dire because in 1999, three of the uninhabited atolls in the nation went underwater. If sea levels continue to rise at projected levels, it is estimated that by 2100, the entire nation might be submerged. Other nations threatened by sea level rise include the Maldives, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, the Phillipines, Barbados, Egypt, and Tuvalu
Whether you choose to believe climate change is occurring because of human impact or it is a naturally occurring cycle, or perhaps that climate change is a natural cycle which is being exacerbated by humans, clearly, it is occurring and will impact not only our world environment, but the world economy. It will take political will to confront the challenges of addressing climate change, but it is past time to do so. Hurricane Sandy very clearly demonstrated Long Island’s vulnerability to rising sea levels.
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Friends of the Bay’s water quality monitoring season ended on October 22. Water quality data collected by our citizen scientists is posted on the Friends of the Bay website at http://friendsofthebay.org/?page_id=1151. The season will resume on April 1, 2013.
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 00:00
With notices now coming in, the first ArtWalk on June 2, was a success. Walter Imperatore, co-chair of the Marketing Committee of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of commerce offered, “We were generally happy with the results. Jim Perna of Long Island Picture Frame, who’s running this event for the chamber, said that he saw an increase in the number of people on the streets. That being said, we were looking to attract more people.”
ArtWalk also gave several artists the opportunity to share their talent with the public as the Arts & Antiques Walk planned for this summer’s Sundays debuted. It is intended to bring people to the hamlet by adding “eye candy” to the streetscape and Julie and David Heiss of the Madd Potter agreed it did.
Saturday, 08 June 2013 00:00
The final 2013 lecture in the John A. Gable series was somewhat different from past lectures. The May 16 lecture showcased Xiomaro’s (pronounced SEE-oh-MAH-ro) wonderful and inspiring “How I love Sagamore Hill” photo collection. Commissioned by Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, and displayed in collaboration with the Oyster Bay Historical Society at the Koenig Center, “How I love Sagamore Hill”, derives from Theodore Roosevelt’s well-known quote to his wife Edith on the day before his death.
Thursday, 20 June 2013 00:00
Hooray! One of the best signs the school year is coming to a close is Field Day, and last week the fields at Friends Academy were swarming with Red, White and Blue as the Middle Schoolers romped through some friendly intramural competition.
Red won the day, but that didn’t dampen the fun for White or Blue. “This is way more fun than sitting inside,” said sixth-grader Nico Santiago. “I’m so pumped. No homework for three months!”
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
With fans wildly cheering from the sidelines, the Friends Academy Boys Varsity Lacrosse team kept rival Cold Spring Harbor at bay before ultimately beating them 9-4 to capture their first ever Class C Nassau County Championship.
Coach Brian Crocco credits the team’s offensive balance with their success in the championship game and throughout the 14-2 season. “What we have found all season is that while we do have a few serious impact players who contribute quite a bit to our offensive success, what has been most remarkable is that we have shared the scoring well, especially in big games. During the championship game, we had seven different goal scorers contribute for the win — two seniors, three juniors, and two sophomores. We have six guys with at least 20 points each this season, so in crucial situations we have found that any number of guys can make a play.”