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 was one of four NWS offices that originally served as a a beta-test site for these messages.  In late summer 2009, four additional offices were added.  Collectively, here are the offices: Houston, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Seattle, Sterling(Washington D.C./Baltimore), Davenport (Quad Cities), Buffalo, and Tampa Bay.  During the 2009 fall season and first part of this winter, several additional offices were added.  Each of the 15 messages has been tailored to that cities' geographical area.  Sets of messages for the seasons of winter, spring, summer were developed.

Earth 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.

MILWAUKEE, WI – WINTER 2009-2010

...EARTH GAUGE MESSAGES FOR NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS...

1. TOPIC: AIR QUALITY
AMERICANS SPEND MORE TIME INSIDE DURING THE COOLER WINTER MONTHS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT THE AIR WE BREATHE INSIDE A SEALED BUILDING CAN BE
25 TO 100 PERCENT MORE POLLUTED THAN THE AIR OUTSIDE. IMPROVE INDOOR
AIR QUALITY AT HOME AND WORK BY ADDING A FEW PLANTS. INDOOR PLANTS
FILTER AIR BY ABSORBING POLLUTANTS AND RADIATION FROM COMPUTERS...
AND THEY ALSO REPLENISH OXYGEN.

STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT INDOOR PLANTS HELP REDUCE COLD-RELATED
ILLNESSES BY UP TO 30 PERCENT AND ALSO REDUCE STRESS LEVELS. THIS
MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND EARTH
GAUGE DOT NET.

2. TOPIC: AIR QUALITY
SMOKE FROM BURNING WOOD MAY SMELL GOOD...BUT IT/S NOT GOOD FOR YOU.
SMALL PARTICLES FROM WOOD SMOKE IMPACTS EVERYONE...BUT CHILDREN...
OLDER ADULTS...AND PEOPLE WITH DIABETES...HEART DISEASE...ASTHMA AND
OTHER LUNG DISEASES CAN BE ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE TO HEALTH EFFECTS.

IF YOU BURN WOOD AT HOME...MINIMIZE SMOKE BY BURNING CLEAN...DRY...
WELL-SEASONED WOOD. NEVER BURN GARBAGE...CARDBOARD...PAINTED OR
PRESSURE-TREATED WOOD...OR WET WOOD. THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

3. TOPIC: HOME AND YARD
DID YOU KNOW THAT TOO MUCH SUN IN THE WINTER CAN DAMAGE YOUNG TREES.
SUNSCALD CAN OCCUR ON COLD WINTER DAYS WHEN THE AFTERNOON SUN IS HIGH
IN THE SKY. HEAT GIVEN OFF BY THE SUN CAUSES CELLS IN YOUNG TREES TO
BECOME ACTIVE DURING THE DAY. WHEN THE SUN SETS AND TEMPERATURES
DROP...THOSE CELLS DIE AND BARK FALLS OFF THE TREE TRUNK.

USE CREPE PAPER TREE WRAP SOLD IN GARDEN CENTERS AND NURSERIES TO
PROTECT AND INSULATE YOUR TREES. REMOVE THE WRAP IN THE SPRING. THIS
MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND EARTH
GAUGE DOT NET.

4. TOPIC: ENERGY EFFICIENCY
AS TEMPERATURES DROP OUTSIDE...YOUR CAR MAY USE MORE FUEL THAN IT
DOES DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS. COLD TEMPERATURES CAUSE AIR IN
VEHICLE TIRES TO CONTRACT...REDUCING TIRE PRESSURE. HAVING JUST ONE
TIRE UNDER-INFLATED BY SIX POUNDS PER SQUARE INCH CAN INCREASE FUEL
CONSUMPTION BY THREE PERCENT AND REDUCE THE TIRE/S LIFE.

CHECK TIRE PRESSURE REGULARLY DURING COLD WEATHER AND KEEP YOUR TIRES
PROPERLY INFLATED. THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE AND EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

5. TOPIC: ENERGY EFFICIENCY
THE AVERAGE WISCONSIN HOUSEHOLD SPENT OVER 1300 DOLLARS ON SPACE
HEATING LAST YEAR. INCREASE HEATING EFFICIENCY IN YOUR HOME BY
CHECKING YOUR FURNACE FILTER EACH MONTH AND REPLACING IT IF IT LOOKS
DIRTY. A DIRTY FILTER SLOWS AIR FLOW AND MAKES YOUR HEATING SYSTEM
WORK HARDER. THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE AND EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

6. TOPIC: ENERGY EFFICIENCY
TURNING THE THERMOSTAT DOWN BY JUST ONE DEGREE CAN SAVE UP TO FIVE
PERCENT ON ENERGY COSTS. THAT`S A SAVINGS OF 45 TO 75 DOLLARS PER
YEAR FOR THE AVERAGE WISCONSIN HOME. SAVE EVEN MORE ENERGY BY
HEATING FAMILY MEMBERS AND PETS...NOT EMPTY SPACE. CLOSE VENTS IN
UNOCCUPIED ROOMS TO SAVE ENERGY AND DIRECT HEAT TO WHERE YOU ARE.
THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND
EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

7. TOPIC: PETS
PETS WHO ARE ACCUSTOMED TO LIVING INSIDE CAN BE VULNERABLE TO INJURY
OR ILLNESS WHEN COLD WEATHER STRIKES...JUST LIKE HUMANS. LONG-HAIRED
DOGS CAN USUALLY GO OUTSIDE TO PLAY FOR SHORT PERIODS OF TIME WHEN
TEMPERATURES ARE ABOVE 20 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT. PUPPIES...KITTENS...
OLDER PETS AND SHORT-HAIRED DOGS SHOULD WAIT UNTIL TEMPERATURES ARE
ABOVE 40 DEGREES.

CATS WILL BE HEALTHIEST IF THEY STAY INSIDE AT ALL TIMES. IF YOUR
PET IS SHIVERING...IT/S TIME TO COME INSIDE.  THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT
TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

8. TOPICS: PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY
DRIVING DURING WINTER WEATHER CAN BE SLOW...FRUSTRATING AND
DANGEROUS. ABOUT 70 PERCENT OF INJURIES DUE TO SNOW AND ICE RESULT
FROM VEHICLE ACCIDENTS. IF ROAD TRAVEL IS NECESSARY DURING WINTER
WEATHER...BE PREPARED. HAVE YOUR VEHICLE TUNED-UP FOR WINTER BY
CHECKING WINDSHIELD WIPERS...FLUID LEVELS...BATTERY...HEADLIGHTS AND
BRAKES.

CARRY A SAFETY KIT AND EXTRA SUPPLIES IN YOUR CAR TO KEEP YOU WARM
AND SAFE SHOULD YOU BECOME STRANDED. ALWAYS LET SOMEONE KNOW WHERE
YOU ARE GOING AND WHEN YOU EXPECT TO BE THERE. THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT
TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

9. TOPICS: PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY
WHAT KIND OF WEATHER PROMPTS THE MOST HEART ATTACKS...WINTER STORMS.
A 2004 STUDY FOUND THAT 53 PERCENT MORE HEART ATTACKS OCCURRED IN
THE WINTER...WITH THE HIGHEST NUMBER OCCURRING IN JANUARY. DURING
COLD WEATHER...THE HEART CAN BE STRAINED BY CONSTRICTING BLOOD
VESSELS AND ADDED EXERTION FROM SHOVELING SNOW AND ICE CAN STRESS
WEAK HEARTS.

IF YOU CLEAR SNOW FROM YOUR DRIVEWAY OR SIDEWALKS...DRESS WARMLY AND
TAKE IT SLOW. STRETCH FOR A FEW MINUTES BEFORE YOU GO OUTSIDE TO
AVOID MUSCLE INJURY...AND STOP WORKING IF YOU FEEL TIRED OR WEAK.
THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND
EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

10. TOPICS: RADON AND PUBLIC HEALTH /JANUARY/
JANUARY IS NATIONAL RADON ACTION MONTH. RADON IS A COLORLESS...
ODORLESS GAS RELEASED FROM ROCK...SOIL AND WATER WHEN URANIUM BREAKS
DOWN. IT CAN ENTER YOUR HOME THROUGH CRACKS OR OPENINGS...SUCH AS
CRAWL SPACES OR PLUMBING FIXTURES. HIGH LEVELS OF RADON HAVE BEEN
FOUND IN HOMES IN EVERY STATE AND EXPOSURE TO RADON GAS IS THE
NUMBER-ONE CAUSE OF LUNG CANCER IN NON-SMOKERS.

WINTER IS THE IDEAL TIME TO TEST YOUR HOME FOR RADON...AS LEVELS CAN
RISE WHEN WINDOWS AND DOORS ARE SEALED TIGHTLY. PURCHASE A
DO-IT-YOURSELF TEST KIT AT HOME IMPROVEMENT STORES OR FROM THE
NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL. THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE AND EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

11. TOPIC: RECYCLING /HOLIDAY/
FRESH-CUT TREES ARE GROWN ON CHRISTMAS TREE FARMS...AN ACRE OF WHICH
PROVIDE THE DAILY OXYGEN REQUIREMENTS FOR 18 PEOPLE AND CONTRIBUTE
OTHER BENEFITS TO THE ENVIRONMENT SUCH AS IMPROVING AIR AND WATER
QUALITY. ALTHOUGH CUT TREES CANNOT BE REPLANTED...THEY CAN OFTEN BE
RECYCLED OR TURNED INTO COMPOST.

IF YOU CHOOSE TO BUY A CUT CHRISTMAS TREE...DONATE YOUR TREE TO A
LOCAL TREE-CYCLING PROGRAM AT THE END OF THE SEASON. RECYCLED TREES
CAN PROVIDE GARDEN MULCH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT. THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT
TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

12. TOPIC: WATER QUALITY
A RECENT STUDY FROM THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY FOUND CHLORIDE LEVELS
ABOVE FEDERAL CRITERIA SET TO PROTECT AQUATIC LIFE IN MORE THAN 40
PERCENT OF URBAN STREAMS TESTED. THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF CHLORIDE...
A COMPONENT OF SALT...WERE FOUND DURING THE WINTER MONTHS WHEN SALT
IS USED FOR DEICING. IF YOU SALT YOUR SIDEWALKS...FOLLOW DIRECTIONS
CAREFULLY. CLEAR AWAY AS MUCH SNOW AND ICE AS POSSIBLE BEFORE
SALTING TO HELP YOU USE LESS PRODUCT. THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

13. TOPIC: WATER CONSERVATION
LESS THAN ONE-PERCENT OF WATER IN THE GREAT LAKES IS RENEWED EACH
YEAR BY SNOW AND RAIN. IT WOULD TAKE 100 YEARS FOR NATURE TO REPLACE
EVEN ONE GALLON OF WATER LOST FROM THE LAKES. THIS SLOW RECHARGE
RATE MEANS WE MUST TAKE CARE TO MAINTAIN THE AMOUNT OF WATER IN THE
LAKES BY CONSERVING WATER. SAVE UP TO 1000 GALLONS PER MONTH BY
RUNNING CLOTHES WASHERS AND DISHWASHERS ONLY WHEN THEY ARE FULL.
THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND
EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

14. TOPIC: WILDLIFE
WHEN COLD WEATHER ARRIVES...NATIVE BIRD POPULATIONS WILL LOOK FOR A
LARGE SUPPLY OF HIGH-ENERGY FOODS. THESE ARE EASILY PROVIDED BY
PLANTS THAT PRODUCE EDIBLE BERRIES...NUTS...AND SEEDS...AND CAN ALSO
BE PROVIDED BY BACKYARD BIRD FEEDERS. FILL FEEDERS WITH HIGH-CALORIE
FOODS LIKE SUNFLOWER SEEDS OR SUET. PLACE FEEDERS IN EASILY OBSERVED
AREAS PROTECTED FROM FREEZING WINDS AS WELL AS PREDATORS LIKE
FOXES...CATS...AND OWLS. THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE AND EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.

15. TOPIC: WILDLIFE
WHILE IT MAY BE TEMPTING TO LEAVE FEED OUR FOR DEER DURING WINTER...
REMEMBER THAT WILDLIFE IS WELL-ADAPTED TO OUR CLIMATE. IN THE
FALL...DEER FATTEN UP FOR WINTER AND SURVIVE PRIMARILY ON THEIR FAT
RESERVES AND A VARIETY OF PLANT FOODS. FEEDING DEER CAN BE HARMFUL
BECAUSE IT INCREASES DEPENDENCE ON HUMANS FOR FOOD AND ENCOURAGES
DEER TO GATHER IN UNUSUALLY LARGE GROUPS...WHERE THEY CAN BECOME
AGGRESSIVE AND MORE VULNERABLE TO DISEASE.

ENJOY VIEWING YOUR BACKYARD WILDLIFEBUT PLEASE DON/T FEED THE
DEER. THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
AND EARTH GAUGE DOT NET.



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