Heat Wave: 2010 to Be One of Hottest Years on Record

Via National Geographic Online


Thanks to a combination of global warming and an ocean-warming El Niño event, 2010 is set to become one of the hottest years ever recorded, a new report says.

Land and ocean temperatures for the period of January to June were the hottest seen since record-keeping began in 1880, according to an analysis released July 15 by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The average temperature for the first half of 2010 was 57.5 degrees Fahrenheit (14.2 degrees Celsius)—about 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit (0.7 degrees Celsius) above the 20th-century average.

Nine countries shattered heat records, including Pakistan, which on May 26 logged a mercury reading of 128.3 degrees Fahrenheit (53.5 degrees Celsius)—the highest ever seen in Asia, according to Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the Weather Underground website.

(Related: “Global Warming ‘Marches On’; Past Decade Hottest Known.”)

While some regions heated up—such as Asia, Peru, and the eastern U.S.—short-term climate impacts meant other areas saw their coolest temperatures yet.

Southern China’s Guizhou Province, for instance, experienced its coolest June on record, the report said.

“It’s too early to extrapolate and say it’s the hottest” year ever recorded—a title currently held by 2005. But 2010 “will almost certainly be at least the third or fourth warmest on record,” said Derek Arndt, head of the Climate Monitoring Branch of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

El Niño Gives Global Warming a “Nudge”

Part of the reason 2010 likely won’t be the hottest year on record is due to the interaction of two powerful climate phenomena, El Niño and La Niña.

El Niño is a warming of tropical waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. During El Niño years, the warmer currents act as a “nudge” that heats the planet on top of the steady warming trend caused by human-induced greenhouse gases, according to Arndt. (Test your global warming knowledge.)

But every three to seven years, El Niño alternates with La Niña, a cooling of the eastern tropical Pacific.

In late May El Niño dissipated, clearing the way for La Niña, which for the rest of 2010 could counteract the warming set in motion by El Niño, Arndt said.

It’s likely, however, that El Niño will have lingering warming effects through August, noted Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the Boulder, Colorado-based National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Overall, the long-term warming trend can be compared to riding up an escalator, Arndt added, while natural variables such as El Niño and La Niña are akin to a person jumping up and down during the steady ascent.

Trenberth agreed that El Niño and La Niña represent “wiggles,” and “when they’re on top of a rising trend, that’s when you break records.”

“It’s not just global warming and not just natural variability—it’s a combination of both.”

Sea Levels, Ice Loss Are Clear Indicators

However, Trenberth noted that loss of Arctic sea ice and sea-level rise are not as affected by the short-term impacts of El Niño and La Niña. (See pictures of climate change impacts in the Arctic.)

Since 1992 satellites have revealed that sea level has risen about 2.2 inches (5.6 centimeters)—a rate that is equivalent to a foot (0.3 meter) or more of sea-level increase a century, Trenberth said.

The new NOAA report also found that, in June 2010, Arctic sea ice covered about 4.2 million square miles (10.9 million square kilometers), which is 10.6 percent below the average ice extent for 1979 to 2000 and the lowest June ice cover since records began in 1979.

So far, Arctic warming means that “2010 is running ahead of 2007, a record low for Arctic sea ice,” Trenberth said.

Sea-ice loss and rising seas are “overall a clear indication the planet is warming,” he added.

Solar Surprise

There were also some surprising elements to the report, scientists say.

For instance, Weather Underground’s Masters was struck by how such extreme temperatures persisted despite weak solar activity. Sunspots weaken and strengthen on a roughly 11-year cycle, and Earth tends to be warmer when this activity is at its peak.

(Read “Sun Oddly Quiet—Hints at Next ‘Little Ice Age’?”)

“This year we’re at the record low minimum for solar activity. The fact we’re having record high temperatures is remarkable,” Masters said. “Human-caused global warming and El Niño was able to overwhelm” the sun’s influence.

NCAR’s Trenberth countered that the impacts of sunspots on Earth’s global temperature are “unproven” and “miniscule” at best.

(Also see “Earth at Farthest Distance From Sun—Why the Heat Wave?”)

Still, NOAA’s Arndt said, the new report is “consistent with projections made about a warming planet due to global warming” and it “reemphasized what’s going on with the planet.”

New Office!

The Our News has Moved.
Our new office is located at 2736 Gerritsen Avenue.


On August 8, 2007, a tornado ripped through Brooklyn uprooting trees and causing severe damage to buildings. This week, OEM reminds New Yorkers to find a safe spot in a basement or a small interior room or hallway with no windows to shelter in place during a disaster. Some emergencies, like tornadoes, happen quickly and the best plan is to wait them out some place safe.

Tornadoes and NYC

Though generally associated with the central United States, tornadoes occasionally occur in New York City. On August 8, 2007, an EF2 tornado touched down in Brooklyn, tearing off roofs, wrecking sides of buildings, and snapping many trees in the Bay Ridge and Sunset Park neighborhoods. The tornado accompanied severe weather that plagued a larger section of New York City – other portions of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Flash flooding and high winds wreaked havoc on parts of the city. In response, the City opened a Disaster Recovery Center for affected residents to obtain recovery assistance.

In October 1985, an F1 tornado touched down in Queens, injuring six people. In August 1990, an F0 tornado struck Staten Island, injuring three people. A more intense F1 tornado struck Staten Island again in October 1995, causing some property damage, but no injuries. Most recently, an F0 tornado and a “gustnado” occurred in Staten Island’s Bullshead and Willowbrook areas on October 27, 2003. The F0 tornado was responsible for uprooting eight trees and causing minor property damage and the “gustnado” uprooted a 30-foot pine tree. There were no injuries.

July & August Community Calendar

Sunday, July 5 -11:00am
Charlie Walsh’s Memorial Birthday Walk and BBQ
@ the Tamaqua

Wednesdays in July 8 – 7:00pm
Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

Friday, July 31 – 7:00pm
Scrabble Night @ St James

Monday, August 3 – 12:00pm

GB Games on Gerritsen Avenue

Wednesdays in August – 7:00pm
Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

Wednesday August 5 – 7:30pm
Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Meeting

Wednesday, August 12 – 7:30pm
61st Community Council

Friday, August 28 – 7:00pm
Scrabble Night @ St James

April & May Community Calendar

Wednesday, March 25

7:00pm – Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

Friday, March 27

7:00pm – Scrabble Night @ St James

Saturday, March 28

12:00pm – Rev. E.J. Matthews Knights of Columbus Raymond A. Loughran Pool Tournament

Wednesday, April 1

7:00pm – Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

7:30pm – Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Meeting

Thursday, April 2

7:00pm – Kiddie Beach Registration

Saturday, April 4

12:00pm – Rev. E.J. Matthews Knights of Columbus 13th Annual Raymond A. Loughran Pool Tournament

3:00pm – Grillin’ On The Bay 2009

Wednesday, April 8

7:00pm – Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

7:30pm –  61st Community Council

Thursday, April 9

7:00pm – Kiddie Beach Registration

Wednesday, April 15

7:00pm – Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

Thursday, April 16

7:00pm –  Kiddie Beach Registration

Friday, April 17

7:00pm – Resurrection Card Party

Saturday, April 18

10:00am  – Gerritsen Beach Little League Parade

2:00pm – Health Care Proxy Informative Session at The Vollies Hall

Wednesday, April 22

7:00pm – Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

Thursday, April 23

7:00pm – Kiddie Beach Registration

8:00pm – Caitlin Sarubbi Benefit featuring Alive and Kickin’

Friday, April 24

7:00pm – St. James Scrabble Night

Wednesday, April 29

7:00pm – Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

Thursday, April 30

7:00pm –  Kiddie Beach Registration

Saturday, May 2

9:00pm – Vollies Fundraiser at the Tamaqua

Wednesday, May 6

7:00pm – Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

7:30pm – Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Meeting

Thursday, May 7

7:00pm – Kiddie Beach Registration

Wednesday, May 13

7:00pm –  Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

7:30pm 61st Community Council Meeting

Thursday, May 14

7:00pm –  Kiddie Beach Registration

Sunday, May 17

7:30pm – Support the Troops Candle Light Ceremony

Wednesday, May 20

7:00pm –  Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

Saturday, May 23

12:00pm – Block Party @ Cort Club

Monday, May 25

10:00am – VFW Memorial Day Parade

Wednesday, May 27

7:00pm – Resurrection Knitting and Crocheting Classes

Friday, May 29

7:00pm – St. James Scrabble Night

Health Care Proxy Information Provided by The Vollies

Do You Have A

Health Care Proxy?

Every adult should appoint an agent

to make your health care decisions, in the event that you are unable to make your own decisions

Come to the Vollies Memorial Hall

43 Seba Avenue


Saturday April 18th 2009

At 2PM

For an informative session on Advanced Medical Directives

Health Care Proxy forms will be distributed.



Brooklyn- State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C, Brooklyn) was among those testifying at the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s public hearing held in Brooklyn last evening against the proposed fare increases and service reductions which would significantly impact his district. The complete text of Senator Golden’s testimony is below. Good evening. I am State Senator Marty Golden representing the 22nd Senate District in Southwest Brooklyn. On behalf of the thousands of people in my district who have signed a petition, I voice opposition to the proposed cuts and to ask that the Metropolitan Transit Authority consider additional sources of revenue beyond raising fares by almost 23% on our buses and subways and to prevent fare increases on Access A Ride. It is unfair to ask New Yorkers with much worry over their own personal finances, to pay more for a ride in the wake of the MTA’s deficit, and then have less bus and train service in operation. Instead, we should be instituting the commuter tax and earmark a portion for the MTA to counter a fare increase and to fund some of these services slated for termination. And now, more than ever, it is incumbent upon our federal representatives to make sure that New York gets its’ fair share of federal transportation money directed towards the MTA to maintain necessary services and to prevent fare hikes. The current proposal will severely effect local buses. For example, the B37 bus which runs along busy 3rd Avenue, stands to be completely eliminated. What message does this send to the senior citizens of my community who rely on this service to get around for shopping, for doctors appointments, to get to religious services and more? What message does this send to the merchants in these trying economic times by making their stores less accessible to consumers? Another proposal calls for the complete elimination of evening service on the only bus into and out of Gerritsen Beach, the B 31, and my community can not accept this. And we can’t completely eliminate weekend express bus service because since 2002, it has become vital to those working on the weekends, to=2 0those wishing to shop and dine in Manhattan, and simply because it is the way for our seniors and our disabled, who can not take the subway, to get to Manhattan on weekends. These cuts, and others, such as reductions to the B 2 in Marine Park, the B16, B64 and the B70 in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Borough Park, and Bensonhurst, will be sure to impact the quality of life of Brooklynites. I strongly oppose the M.T.A.’s approval of this budget as it is now and I urge your consideration of other measures that may keep service strong and our fares within reason.

How To Survive a Power Blackout

Survive a Power Blackout

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Toronto Blackout by saltyseadog via Flickr.

Photo: Toronto Blackout by saltyseadog via Flickr.

North America has been well served by its electrical grid for about 125 years, and for the most part, everything’s been hunky dory. However, if there’s one thing that experience has taught us, it’s that the more reliant we are on electricity, the more it hurts during those rare occasions when it’s gone.

When a major blackout hit New York City in 1977, it resulted in widespread looting, vandalism and violence. In comparison, the massive blackout of 2003 that disrupted electricity to 50 million people across Ontario and eight U.S. states for up to four days was more a severe headache than an occasion to run wild. Still, it brought a new level of awareness to millions — that being prepared is not so much a crazy survivalist notion as a common-sense necessity.

It’s important to be prepared at all times, but especially during the summer months — the so-called “blackout season” runs from the middle of the summer (mid-July) until the end of September — and in the dead of winter when ice storms can bring down power lines.

This guide aims to give some pointers to help you prepare your home for the next power outage and to help keep you and your family safe during the next blackout.

This article is a wiki. Got extra advice? Log in and add it.



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Prepare an Emergency Kit

You think ahead for any situation, so you already have an emergency kit ready, right? If not, the U.S. Government has some suggestions for a basic survival kit:

  • Water. A three-day supply, one gallon per day per person.
  • Food. A three-day supply, per person, of non-perishable food. If you include canned food, remember the can opener.
  • A radio. Battery-powered or hand-crank powered, along with extra batteries. Consider an NOAA Weather Radio, or a portable that receives those bands.
  • A flashlight with batteries. Go for an LED flashlight, which lasts a long time on a single charge. There are also hand-crank models available. Even better, consider a wall-plug emergency version that keeps charged and automatically lights up (so you can find it) when the power cuts out.
  • A first aid kit.
  • A whistle to signal for help. If you’re in the dark for long and have to keep the kids from fighting, this could also serve as your referee whistle.
  • Plastic sheeting along with duct tape and a dust mask.
  • Personal sanitation items like wet naps or moist toilettes, garbage bags, plastic ties, and toilet paper.
  • A wrench or pliers for turning off utilities.
  • Maps of your city or local area.

Tip: Think about your pets (more water as well as food for them), people with special dietary needs and anyone requiring medication such as insulin. Make sure you have supplies handy.

Tip: Wired magazine put together its own Smarter Emergency Kit list in the May 2005 issue.

Prepare Your Home

Every home should have a few of these on hand.

Every home should have a few of these on hand.

  • An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your computer buys you a bit of extra run time when the power goes, as well as some protection from surges when the power comes back.
  • A surge protector for your precious stereo, HDTV and videogame console(s). When power is restored after a blackout, voltage may vary as the system stabilizes. Those spikes and dips can fry unprotected electronics.
  • Smoke detectors. Many homes are equipped with hard-wired smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors. Make sure that you either have a model with battery back up, or supplement any hard-wired detectors with battery-powered models so you are still protected.
  • A land line. If you’re not purely a cellphone user, consider keeping at least one old school, plug-in telephone around. When the power goes out, your cordless phones are useless but the old plug-in handset on the land line will still work. Land line handsets are still the most reliable way to reach your local emergency services.
  • Wood. If you have a wood-burning fireplace or a woodstove, keep a supply of wood on hand. If you lose power during the winter, your fireplace may not be able to keep the whole house comfortably warm, but it does provide some heat in the immediate vicinity. It can also be used for cooking, and it should help prevent the pipes from freezing.
  • A chain saw Though the occasional outage is due to a fault in the distribution system most are still caused by severe weather knocking down trees and distribution lines. A chain saw will come in handy when you need to charge your iPod and there’s an oak tree on top of your car. Steer clear of plug-in models!

Tip: Check your homeowner’s insurance policy and see what you’re covered for. Replacement of electronics equipment? Fire? Blackout-related property damage?

Portable power

An XPower Powerpack solar power source, and others like it, are handy for keeping computers and communications devices charged.

An XPower Powerpack solar power source, and others like it, are handy for keeping computers and communications devices charged.

If you can afford it and you have the room, a portable power generator is a nice bit of insurance. The recommended use is to run an extension cord from the generator (running outside, of course), to a power bar in your home; a few basic necessities can be plugged into the power bar. Think lights, fans and maybe a fridge — don’t expect to power your whole home off of one of these. For an even safer usage consider having a manual transfer switch wired into your home’s electrical system. Keep gasoline handy or that generator won’t be doing anything but sitting there mocking you with visions of what might have been.

If you don’t have the room, budget or inclination to go full hog with the backup generator, many companies offer inexpensive portable battery backup devices that will add another 3 or 4 hours run time to a laptop computer or power a fan or light for a night. Some of these can even be recharged via solar panels.

Tip: Portable emergency generators can be very popular items during an extended power outage — a little too popular, if you catch our drift. Consider chaining yours to a solid object to make it a less tempting target.

What to do when the power goes out

Photo by ViNull via Flickr.

Photo by ViNull via Flickr.

  • If it’s electrical, turn it off: stereos, televisions, stoves, microwaves, lights. When the power comes back on, most devices demand a surge of power for their start-up sequence and every appliance in every home trying to start up instantly just taxes the electricity infrastructure again. Leave one light or a radio on as an indicator of when power is restored.
  • Resist the urge to continually open your fridge and freezer. If you have to get something out, you have to, but the more you open the door, the quicker the interior warms up.
  • On the other hand, if power has been out for an extended time, consider starting to use perishable food (like those prime steaks you’ve been saving for that special occasion) before it, well, perishes.
  • Candles were often the fallback emergency illumination choice in the old days. There were a lot of house fires associated with power outages in the old days too; candles are OK, but only if used sparingly and watched very closely. Generally, you’re much better off sticking to a flashlight. While not as romantic, it’s highly unlikely to set your curtains on fire when the cat knocks it over.

Additional considerations

  • Fill a few large containers with tap water, just in case. If water treatment goes down, you can use the extra water for washing, or to refill your toilet tank. Some people fill their bathtub as well, but that’s seldom necessary — if you get that desperate for fresh water, there’s a large supply in most homes inside the water heater. You can access it via the drain spout at the bottom of the tank.
  • If the power outage is widespread and long-lasting, there may be no working gas pumps in your area. So if you want to retain mobility, try not to ever let your vehicle’s gas tank get near empty. Keeping a jerry can of gas in your shed or garage gives you a bit of a cushion (Note: you should add a fuel conditioner or use the spare gas in your vehicle every few months and refill the jerry can to ensure the fuel doesn’t go stale).
  • ATMs don’t work in a blackout. Neither do cash registers. Keep a supply of cash handy and you may be able to purchase supplies, assuming you can find a store that’s open.
  • If you desperately need to recharge small electronics like GameBoys, cellphones or iPods and you have a vehicle, you can use an inverter plugged into the cigarette lighter (or 12 volt outlets) to recharge via the car’s battery. Too much, though (especially in the winter) and you’ll drain the battery to the point where you can’t start the car.
  • Non-electrical entertainment can be a lifesaver when the power outage stretches into hours. Board games, cards, books, comics and coloring books can help fend off boredom for adults and kids.
  • Try calling around to major retailers if you’re in a pinch for supplies. Some stores, including most big box retailers, have actually installed backup generators and are able to continue operating during a blackout. Even so, bring cash and don’t assume that services like debit or credit cards will be functional.
  • If you live in a town or city, most likely stop-lights will not be working or blinking. Treat every intersection like it is a four-way stop sign!

Campers are at an advantage

If you, or someone in your household, is a camper, chances are that you’ll have a foot up on the neighbors during a blackout. Just make sure your gear is in good shape, accessible and ready to go (ie., fuel and/or batteries available where appropriate). A few basic camping supplies that may come in extremely handy during a blackout include:

  • Camp stove (for cooking or boiling water, not heating).
  • Portable BBQ (same as above).
  • Sleeping bags. Not all blackouts occur in the summer!
  • Lanterns. Battery powered are OK in the house, fuel-burners should only be used outdoors.
  • A multitool.
  • A cooler.
  • Water purification pills, if things really stretch out.

Tip: Keep your camp stoves, propane stoves, lanterns and BBQs outdoors, not in the house. If the carbon monoxide doesn’t kill you, there’s a decent chance that the flames might catch on something and burn the house down.

Fun Stuff

  • Keep your laptop charged and a few movies on the hard drive (archived back-ups of your personal DVDs, of course) to help if people get bored. Remember, the battery will last longer if you’re running the movie from the hard drive and not playing an actual DVD.
  • Weather permitting, go outside and look up. There’s so much nighttime light pollution in a typical city that the night sky during a blackout is almost unrecognizable with the number of stars visible. Bring binoculars if you have them.

Do Not

  • Plug a generator back into a household outlet. Back feeding, as the practice is known, bypasses household circuit protection and potentially puts neighbors and utility workers at risk of electrocution.

Not You Too

Not You Too

By: Joe Leone

Which one of us does not have high blood pressure? My situation started many years ago when I was in my 30’s. I had a severe headache and felt like my head was coming off.

When I went to the doctor he supposed it was pressure from work and not being able to relax… in addition to my two tax jobs, I was also involved in organizations concerning School, Social, Athletics, & Veterans to name a few.

There were no pill or treatments then and here I am now many years later alive and still being treated for high blood pressure. But now we can say “under control”

Based on an article I recently read “Blood Pressure Rates are Soaring” The Numbers are shocking. Almost 1 Billion people (that’s billion with a B) worldwide have high blood pressure and by 2025 half a billion more will have this silent killer. It’s not just a problem for the ever fattening Western World because even Africa high blood pressure is becoming common. That translates into millions of deaths from heart disease alone. Yet hypertension doesn’t command the attention given even to bird flu which has killed fewer than 200 people. “Hypertension has gone a bit out of fashion” says Dr. Ostergren of Sweden University Hospital, he co-authored a first of its kind analysis of the global impact of high blood pressure.

The idea is to rev-up bored governments to fight high blood pressure just as countries have banded together in the past to fight infectious disease. The fact is that even in the United States the majority of people with high blood pressure are not treated adequately” says Dr. Smith of the University of North Carolina. To continue “Look at China, look at Africa, go around the world, it is a major risk factor.” What is the treatment?

And the dangers go well beyond the heart, high blood pressure is a leading cause of strokes, and kidney failure; plus it plays a role in blindness and even dementia.

The summary what is the cause, it’s not pressure, it’s not diet, it’s not lack of exercise. What causes it? Let’s get on the research kick and find out before it’s much too late!

Girl Scouts Family Day at Brooklyn Cyclones

The Brooklyn Cyclones hosted the Girl Scouts of America on June 27, 2008. At this annual event, Girl Scout troops were invited to march along the base lines and stand on the field during the National Anthem. The Cyclones took the game with a 4-3 walk-off win against the Aberdeen Iron Birds. As a nice surprise, Mets OF Ryan Church played for the Cyclones after beginning a rehab assignment the night before. The girls got autographs, received a Commemorative Patch and some even slept on the field at KeySpan Park for the Post-Game Sleepover. If you missed out, there is another Girl Scout Night at the Richmond County Bank Ball Park when the Brooklyn Cyclones are facing the Staten Island Yankees on Saturday, July 26 at 7:00 p.m. Pre-game parade begins at 6 p.m. for all Girl Scouts, all children 12 & under get to run the bases after the game & there will be a post-game SWAP will all scouts before the movie screening of Nancy Drew down on the field.