Season

Warmest springs on record bring earliest flowers

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 16, 2013   View Article

During the exceptionally warm springs of 2010 and 2012, plants bloomed earlier in the eastern U.S. than they have since the American writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau started keeping records near Walden Pond in 1852.

Many plants now flower several weeks earlier than they did in the 19th century, a response linked to increasingly warmer springs due to global climate change.

For example, in Massachusetts, plants are flowering 20 days earlier now than they were during Thoreau’s time. In Wisconsin, where data on flowering dates was recorded by environmentalist and writer Aldo Leopold in the 1930s, flowering dates are, on average, 24 days earlier.

Summer Storms to Create New Ozone Holes as Earth Warms?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 26, 2012   View Article

Summer storms may create new holes in our protective ozone layer as Earth heats up—bringing increased solar ultraviolet radiation to densely populated areas, a new study says.

What’s more, if more sunlight reaches Earth, skin cancer could become the new marquee risk of global warming.

Robot lifeguards hit the beach in time for summer

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: May 29, 2012   View Article

Just in time for the summer season, so-called robot lifeguards are hitting the beach on both coasts of the U.S.

“E.M.I.L.Y. is a means to assist lifeguards and first responder who respond to drowning victims,” Bob Lautrup, the robot’s co-inventor and president of Hydronalix told me Monday.

New Calendar Would Add Extra Week to December

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 17, 2012   View Article

Wish you’d had an extra holiday week this year? If a proposed permanent calendar is adopted in the next few years, you’ll get one at the end of 2017.

This “leap week” would occur every five or six years under the proposed Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar.

The occasional extra December week would keep the months in tune with the seasons in a calendar that would otherwise stay the same year after year after year.

How the ancients celebrated the solstice

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: June 18, 2010   View Article

At sunrise on the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day of the year – the summer solstice– thousands of modern-day druids, pagans and partiers gather in the countryside near Salisbury, England, to cheer as the first rays of light stream over a circular arrangement of stones called Stonehenge. The original purpose of the ancient monument remains a source of academic debate. The large stones erected about 4,000 years ago are aligned with the summer solstice sunrise, leading scholars to suggest a link to an ancient sun-worshipping culture. Click the “Next” arrow above to learn about seven more ways ancient cultures marked the solstices – the longest and shortest days of the year.

Mystery Volcano Solves Global Cooling Puzzle

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 9, 2009   View Article

A newly detected 19th-century volcanic eruption may solve the mystery of a strangely cool decade in the early 1800s, researchers say—but the location of the volcano itself remains a puzzle.

Scientists have long blamed the 1815 eruption of an Indonesian volcano, Tambora, for a worldwide cold snap the following year—the so-called year without a summer.

Baseball in the cold a mental, physical challenge

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: October 26, 2009   View Article

Baseball fans looking over the equipment list — balaclavas, tights, parkas, and hand warmers — are forgiven if they think the Phillies and Yankees are headed for a ski vacation.

The World Series begins Wednesday, the latest start in the game’s history at Oct. 28. Odds favor some frigid nights of baseball with bundled-up players trying to keep their heads in the game.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach