Earth Gauge & NWS 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 winter messages shown below 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 (Houston, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Seattle).  In late summer and fall of 2009, 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

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; 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 Sevice 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 Sevice 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 Sevice 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 efficency 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, 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 wildlife, but 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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