Sunday, September 21, 2014

Severe weather headed for Chicagoland area


The National Weather Service declared a severe thunderstorm warning for eastern Kankakee County and several Indiana counties this afternoon, and much of the middle part of the state was put under a severe thunderstorm watch through this evening as a cold front rolls into the area.

The warning was to last until 4:15 p.m. for south eastern Kankakee County and southern Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newtown counties in Indiana, with a storm packing 60 mph wind gusts hail moving through the area.

Severe Weather Injures 2, Causes Damage & Throws Wrench In Holiday Weekend Plans

Severe weather swept through the Tri-State area on Sunday, injuring two people, causing damage and throwing a major wrench in Labor Day weekend happenings.

In the Bronx, two people were injured following a lightning strike at Orchard Beach on Pelham Bay.
The lightning struck near the handball court where a father and his son were standing, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported.

It’s unclear if they were hit directly, but witnesses told Stern the father had trouble walking with numbness on one side of his body.

Both were described as alert as first responders took them to Jacobi Medical Center, Stern reported.
The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning at around 4:20 p.m. for Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau County, Westchester County, Putnam County and parts of northern New Jersey through 6:15 p.m.

A flash flood warning was in effect through 6:23 p.m. for Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, southern Nassau County, and parts of northern New Jersey.

An areal flood advisory was in effect through 6:45 p.m. for Fairfield and New Haven in Connecticut, Northwestern Burlington in New Jersey, Suffolk County, Nassau County, and Westchester County.

Extreme weather becoming more common, study says

A pedestrian hangs on to a trash can along Central Avenue as rainwater flows towards downtown Albuquerque, N.M.,  August 1, 2014.  Heavy rains late Friday night caused the flash flooding and road closures in parts of downtown and in other areas.

Extreme weather like the drought currently scorching the western US and the devastating floods in Pakistan in 2010 is becoming much more common, according to new scientific research.

The work shows so-called “blocking patterns”, where hot or wet weather remains stuck over a region for weeks causing heatwaves or floods, have more than doubled in summers over the last decade. The new study may also demonstrate a link between the UK’s recent flood-drenched winter and climate change.

Climate scientists in Germany noticed that since 2000 there have been an “exceptional number of summer weather extremes, some causing massive damage to society”. So they examined the huge meanders in the high-level jet stream winds that dominate the weather at mid-latitudes, by analysing 35 years of wind data amassed from satellites, ships, weather stations and meteorological balloons. They found that blocking patterns, which occur when these meanders slow down, have happened far more frequently.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Global Warming Is Changing the Gulf of Maine, Imperiling Its Lobster, Fish Catch

The words "Maine" and "lobster" go hand-in-hand, but the day is coming when the Pine Tree State's rocky coastline will no longer be home to its most famous crustacean.
That's because the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99 percent of the world's oceans, scientists say, pushing out long-established species of commercial fish like cod, herring and northern shrimp, which are quickly departing for colder waters further north.
Meanwhile, black sea bass, blue crabs and new species of squid -- all highly unusual for the Gulf -- are turning up in fishermen's nets.
The Gulf of Maine's warming reflects broader trends around the North Atlantic. But the statistic -- accepted by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- underscores particular fears about the Gulf's unique ecosystem and the lucrative fishing industries it supports for three U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.
"These changes are very real, and we're seeing them happen quickly," said Malin Pinsky, a biology professor at New Jersey's Rutgers University who studies ocean temperature change and was not involved in the research that resulted in the 99 percent statistic.
It is a rallying point for environmental activists, who see the response to the temperature rise and its impact on fisheries as a touchstone for the global debate about climate change.
"The warming is already here," said Jeff Young, a spokesman for Pew Charitable Trust's oceans project, which has campaigned in favor of restrictions on fishing for herring, another species leaving for colder water. "And we have to deal with it."
The rising waters in the Gulf -- a big dent in the East Coast stretching from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick -- have interfered with the work of Diane Cowan, founder of the Lobster Conservancy, who has conducted lobster censuses in New England for 22 years.
The changes threaten a three-state industry valued at more than $1 billion in 2012, a year in which fishermen caught more than 550 million pounds, NOAA statistics say.
Governments are reacting by creating new commercial fisheries; Maine regulators are in the process of creating a licensing process for black sea bass, a species associated more with the mid-Atlantic.

In Oceans Made Hotter, More Acidic By Global Warming, What Life Will Survive?

Marine losers abound in the hustling currents of warming and acidifying oceans. Trying to figure out which types of sea life, particularly those that form calcium carbonate-rich cells and exoskeletons, such as some plankton, corals, and shellfish, will thrive amid climate change can be like playing a high-stakes shell game.
New research suggests that at least one type of plankton could overcome what would seem to be long odds, and double down on its ecosystem dominance. The surprise finding is a positive early development in an oft-bleak field as scientists start to investigate which marine species face the greatest risks of dying out — their shells emptied by the lethal effects of environmental switcheroos.
Most of global warming’s heat is ending up in the oceans, making the waters less hospitable for many species.
And a quarter of the carbon dioxide pumped into the air by humans is dissolving into oceans, where it undergoes chemical reactions that increase the water’s acidity by reducing concentrations of carbonates that some organisms use to produce shells. These changes have contributed to coral bleaching, to holes in sea snail shells, and to die-offs at oyster farms.
Coccolithophores are single-celled plants surrounded by individual calcium carbonate sheaths that underpin many food webs. They form plankton blooms so thick they are tracked using satellites.
Researchers working in a laboratory exposed a species of the plankton, Emiliania huxleyi, to fast-paced environmental changes reminiscent of those underway in the wild. They reported Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change that they had observed surprisingly fast rates of evolutionary adaptation.
Much more work with this and other types of sea life will be needed before scientists can paint any kind of clear picture of the future of marine ecosystems. But the findings provide important early clues.
“You will get species that are able to evolve, and others that are not,” Reusch said. “That’s a big question that will occupy us for the next 10 or 20 years; to find out if there are any meta attributes that we can tell from the genomes, and from the physiology, that are telling us how evolutionarily flexible they are.”

Friday, September 19, 2014

California Wildfires: King Fire Balloons, More Evacuations Ordered

The latest round of evacuations comes as thousands of Californians have fled their homes in recent days, with about 200 structures across the state reduced to ash and hundreds of other homes and buildings still under threat from encroaching flames.
The fires are just three of at least nine fires burning across the state, part of an ongoing crisis indrought-plagued California.
State fire officials have already responded to more than 4,800 wildfires so far this year, USA Today reports, 1,000 more than an average fire season, and peak wildfire season is only just now underway.
"We've seen a lot more fires, and with those fires, more and more people are at threat. Every day we continue to see new fires ignite, forcing hundreds to evacuate," Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant told USA Today.

Tropical Storm Fung-Wong Brings Flooding to Philippines, May Impact Taiwan Next

Tropical Storm Fung-Wong, known as Mario in the Philippines, brought heavy rain and gusty winds to portions of the northern Philippines. Over a foot of rain has already fallen in the mountainous terrain  and widespread flooding has been reported in Luzon.
Flooding was reported in Manila where according the the Associated Press. Three deaths have been reported as well.
Fung-Wong formed Thursday just east of the Philippines and is moving to the northwest, but will continue to bring rain and gusty winds to the northern Philippines through Saturday.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warns that . Heavy rainfall is the greatest concern with .
Earlier this week, parts of the Philippines were impacted by Typhoon Kalmaegi.