Earth Gauge & National Weather Service Environmental Messages

This annoucement is a continuation of the partnership between Earth Gauge and the National Weather Service (NWS) that was formed to judge the usefullness of broadcasting short, environmental and weather-related messages onto NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, as well as making them available to broadcast meteorologists.  Additionally, the fifteen spring messages have been incoporated into a Public Information Statement for distribution to the NOAA Weather Wire circuit.

The Milwaukee/Sullivan office is one of four NWS offices that are serving as a a beta-test site for these messages.  Other offices include Seattle, Houston, and New Orleans.  Each of the 15 messages has been tailored to that cities' geographical area.  The first set of messages was distributed for the winter months.  Additional sets will be generated for the summer and fall seasons.

Earch Gauge is part of the "Eyes on the Environment" program. a larger initiateive by the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation (NEETF) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) to facilitate the evolution of Broadcast Meteorologists into 'station scientists" who can expertly cover and relate basic, environmental information to their viewers.  Their web site is:  http://www.earthgauge.net

It is hoped that weather radio listeners will find the messages educational and useful.  Feedback is welcome via an e:mail message to  rusty.kapela@noaa.gov.  Broadcast meteorologists are encouraged to utilize the messages as well.

Spring/Early Summer 2009 messages...

TOPICS: AIR QUALITY

As of 2006, 80 percent of Wisconsin residents drove to work alone.  Choosing alternative transportation - walking, biking, public transportation or carpooling - reduces traffic congestion, saves time and protects our air quality.  You may want to consider biking to work!  Research shows that the average length of many car trips, three miles, can be covered equally as quickly on a bike when traffic and parking are accounted for.  This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPICS: ALLERGIES, POLLEN. Part 1

About 35 million Americans are allergic to pollen and mold.  Spring weather means that tree pollen levels are on the rise.  If you have seasonal allergies, there are simple steps you can take to reduce your exposure to pollens.  Try to stay inside from 5:00 to 10:00 a.m., when pollen levels are highest.  Avoid hanging clothes outside to dry where they can collect pollens, and remember that lawn-mowing and raking can stir up pollens in your yard.  This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPICS: ALLERGIES, POLLEN, Part 2

Regardless of where you live, the weather can have a major impact on allergy season. Windy weather increases pollen counts by spreading tiny pollens through the air. Rainy weather initially decreases pollen counts, but can increase pollen production later in the year by spurring growth of late-spring and summer grasses. Tree pollens are typically the first allergens to show up in the spring. If you have seasonal allergies, reduce your exposure to tree pollens by avoiding outdoor activities during the early morning when trees usually emit pollens. Keep windows closed at night to keep pollens out of your home, and keep windows closed when traveling in the car. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPIC: ENERGY EFFICIENCY, Part 1

Nice weather prompts many homeowners to make outdoor improvements. Outdoor post or porch lights are among the most-used lighting fixtures in the average U.S. home. Increase efficiency of your outdoor lighting system by replacing traditional bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use less energy and last longer. If you are adding garden lighting, consider solar-powered lights which recharge by sunlight during the day and do not require wiring or electricity. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPIC: ENERGY EFFICIENCY, Part 2

Cool down: lower your air conditioning costs by up to 14 percent and cool more efficiently by running your ceiling fan counter clockwise (downward) and turning up your thermostat by two degrees. And remember: ceiling fans cool only people, not the room. When you leave the room, turn the ceiling fan off to save energy. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPICS: EROSION, RAIN, WIND


80 percent of the plants and animals on Wisconsin’s endangered species list live all or part of their lives in the near-shore zone. If you are a homeowner near the shore, consider keeping native brush and trees in place instead of replacing them with grass or artificial beaches.  Natural vegetation protects the shoreline from wind and rain erosion and filters out pollutants carried by rainwater before they reach the water. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPICS: FLOODS, Part 1

In 2007, floods occurred in every U.S. state, causing claims of nearly 600 million dollars. Just one-inch of water in your home can add up to more than 7,800 dollars in repairs, including costs for cleanup materials and replacement of carpet and flooring, baseboards and drywall. Know your flood risk! Find out if you live in a flood-prone area, and make sure that you have an evacuation plan in place. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPIC: FLOODS, Part 2

When temperatures in Wisconsin warm up for the spring and summer, the chances for thunderstorms with heavy rains increase.  Local rivers and streams are at risk for flooding. Soils that are already saturated with water are not be able to absorb as much new moisture, meaning that a large amount of water is likely to run off into rivers and streams. Water can also pool in areas around your home where soil is saturated. Make sure downspouts carry water several feet away from your home to a well-drained area to avoid flooding. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPIC: RAIN, WIND, LITTER

No matter where litter starts, it moves.  Litter - especially light-weight plastic - is transported easily by wind and rain and often ends up in our waters. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of the debris floating in our rivers, lakes and oceans are plastic. This floating litter leads to the deaths of 100,000 curious aquatic animals and two million birds each year! Keep our waterways litter-free by always using appropriate trash and recycling receptacles. Make sure trash bins in your yard have secure lids to keep trash contained during stormy weather. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPICS: RAIN, PUBLIC HEALTH

Wisconsin is home to more than 55 species of mosquito! While the chances of a person getting sick from a mosquito bite are low, you can reduce your risk even further by taking simple precautions at home. After it rains, drain standing water from flower pot saucers, childrens' toys, pet water and food dishes, and other places where rain water collects. When spending time outside, use insect repellent on exposed skin and if weather permits, wear long sleeved shirts, long pants and socks. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPICS: RAIN, WATER CONSERVATION

Did you know that an average roof sheds 160 gallons of water per hour during an average rainfall? Rain barrels are becoming a popular, inexpensive and easy source for collecting rainwater for outdoor use during dry times. Capturing rainwater reduces the demand on our municipal water supplies, reduces erosion, and best of all, saves money by lowering your water bill! This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPIC: THUNDERSTORMS

Many people participate in outdoor activities during the spring and summer months. Always check your local weather forecast before heading outside and plan ahead for severe weather. If you are outside and cannot find shelter during a thunderstorm, squat out in the open in a low-lying area on the tips of your toes in a "crouch" position, away from other members of your group. Do not lie down. Stay away from tall, isolated objects (such as lone trees), and avoid contact with fences, poles and backpacks, which can conduct electricity. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPICS: UV, SUN SAFETY, Part 1

About 25 percent of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV radiation occurs before the age of 18, meaning that it is especially important to protect children from sun exposure.  When possible, play outside during the cooler parts of the day, before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. Use a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPICS: UV, SUN SAFETY, Part 2

The National Gardening Association found that the average gardener spends 2.8 hours per week in the garden. Because they spend a lot of time outside, gardeners and farmers can be more at-risk for skin cancer. When possible, work outside during the cooler parts of the day, before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. Remember that it is possible to burn on a cloudy day, even when the sun doesn’t seem bright.  Apply sunscreen liberally and often, and wear protective clothing: a hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirt and pants. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.


TOPIC: WATER CONSERVATION

Gardening in the early morning or evening is better for your plants! Water evaporates more quickly in the sun, so watering during the cooler parts of the day means your plants retain more water. Transplants will also fare better if performed during cooler parts of the day, when there is less stress from the sun's heat. This message brought to you by the National Weather Service and Earth Gauge.net.

 



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