Category Archives: Environment

Daylight Savings Time Is A Waste

Does “daylight savings time” save energy? Does it save money? Does it save lives? Does getting up when the sun is lower in the morning sky mean you have more time before you go to bed at night?

“One hundred years ago when they first proposed this, they said it was about saving energy,” said Michael Downing, author of “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time. This has never been realized no matter how many times they say it.” Daylight Saving Time is relative

A University of California study has shown that DST doesn’t save anyone any money at all. In fact, it’s costing consumers extra, to the tune of $3.19 in extra utility bills per year. The study was made possible because of the peculiarities of the state of Indiana, which was only partially on DST until 2006. When the whole state finally went DST (to sync with the national business day), some comparisons vs. the prior method were made apparent. The study calculated that the shift costs Indiana residents an extra $8.6 million in electricity bills in total.

If the justification for DST has always been energy savings, why isn’t ‘saving daylight’ burning fewer light bulbs and saving energy? Continue reading “Daylight Savings Time Is A Waste” »

Hazardous Waste and E-Scrap Collection

Anna Maria Island residents in Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach, and Anna Maria City can dispose of household hazardous waste at a collection station to be set up January 26, 2019,  by Manatee County. Hours will be 9am – 3pm on the Gulf side parking lot of Coquina Beach Park.

Coquina Beach, Manatee County E-Scrap Hazardous Waste Collection Coquina Beach, Manatee County E-Scrap Hazardous Waste Collection

Accepted items include:

  • Solvents, paints, household chemicals, pesticides, oil
  • Ammunition, flares, propane tanks, batteries, fluorescent lamps
  • Mercury containing devices, computer components, televisions, copiers
  • Video and audio equipment, and small household appliances

Unacceptable items include:

  • Radioactive items such as smoke detectors
  • Bio-hazard materials such as needles

For more information see mymanatee.org/hhw or mymanatee.org/escrap or call Manatee County Utilities Operations Department at 941-798-6761

Map image

 

Red Tide At Anna Maria Island

Red tide algae bloom was detected on Anna Maria Island shores August 3, 2018, and affected air and sealife soon after. While the municipalities and county services cleaned up dead fish on the beaches, the irritating smell sent people to seek indoor relief and, as word spread, visitors cancelled their trips.

(Update September 5, 2018 below at end of article.)

The current bloom is from microscopic Karenia Brevis, an alga native to Gulf of Mexico, spreading north from Naples to Tampa Bay.

K. Brevis concentrations Florida Gulf Coast, from Florida Wildlife Conservation http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/

K. Brevis concentrations Florida Gulf Coast, from Florida Wildlife Conservation http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/

Dead fish started turning up in the bay-side waters and canals a few days ago, but not as prevalent as the last red tide fish kill in December, 2015, which lasted several weeks.

Dead fish and sea grass August 2018 Red Tide Anna Maria Island

Dead fish and sea grass August 2018 Red Tide

Red Tide fish kill December 2015

Red Tide December 2015 piled dead fish at the end of canals

Red tide January 2013 fish kill on Anna Maria Island beach

Red tide January 2013 fish kill on Anna Maria Island beach

Since August 20, 103 manatee have died of which 29 tested positive for K. Brevis, and suspected in the 74 others. The manatee death toll so far this year from all causes has reached 554, compared to 527 for all of 2017.

Red tide also affects turtles and seabirds. “This year so far, we have rescued or recovered a total of 137 sea turtles,” said Hayley Rutger, spokesperson for Mote Marine Laboratory. “A lot of those were already deceased. Some of them were affected by humans, like boat strikes or entanglements in fishing gear, but some of them are suspected to have been affected by the ongoing red tide bloom.”

“Cormorants will dive through the water, and they’re basically diving right through the blooms so they’re getting it in their eyes and their faces and their mouths,” explained Avian Hospital Administrator Dana Leworthy. “They don’t necessarily need to ingest the fish to get the red tide.”

Although the Florida red tide is a naturally occurring phenomenon, agricultural and urban runoff can prolong red tide blooms inshore. Continue reading “Red Tide At Anna Maria Island” »

Hurricane Charley washed over Captiva Island in 2004

2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

The 2018 extended range tropical forecast has been released updated by Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science.

As at April 5 July 2, the forecast is for slightly above average storm activity below average activity for the Atlantic Ocean basin. The current weak La Niña is not expected to transition into a significant El Niño by summer and fall. El Niño conditions create vertical wind shear that inhibits hurricane formation. Without wind shear, the tropical Atlantic is conducive to storm development.

We have decreased our forecast and now believe that 2018 will have below-average activity. The tropical and subtropical Atlantic is currently much colder than normal, and the odds of a weak El Niño developing in the next several months have increased. With the decrease in our forecast, the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean has decreased as well.

The forecast predicts a slightly above-average below average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean.
(full details at https://tropical.colostate.edu/media/sites/111/2018/07/2018-07.pdf)

2018 Forecast numbers: Continue reading “2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast” »

2017 Hurricane Season Review

2017 Named storm tracks

2017 Named storm tracks

Summary:

  • Above average storm activity
  • Anna Maria Island evacuation for Irma, but no flooding, contrary to forecast 5′ – 15′ surge
  • 2 landfalls on Florida Gulf Coast (Irma and Philippe)
  • Broad swath of property damage, trees downed, and power outages across Florida from Irma
  • Minor damage to Anna Maria Island properties and trees. Maximum wind reported was 92mph as the eye of Irma traveled inland of the island
  • Anna Maria City Pier and restaurant damaged beyond repair
Anna Maria City Pier hurricane damage

Anna Maria City Pier hurricane damage Photo: Jack Elka, The Islander

Some Ficus, Banyan, Norfolk Pines blew over

The 2017 hurricane season was more active than predicted by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project forecast team. Three major hurricanes struck the United States: Harvey, Irma and Maria, causing devastating destruction to islands in the Caribbean and other portions of the tropical Atlantic:

“The 2017 hurricane season was extremely active. Overall, our predicted numbers from our early July and August issue dates for named storm and hurricane formations were relatively close to what was observed, but our early season predictions and our predictions for integrated metrics such as Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) were far too low,” said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the forecast at CSU.

Atlantic Hurricane Season April June 2017 forecast 2017 Actual
Named storms (>35mph) 11      13  16
Hurricanes (>72mph)  4       6  10
Major hurricanes (>111mph)  2       2  6
US landfall likelihood 42%   55%  31%
Gulf Coast landfall 24%   32%  13%

The Named Storms:

Arlene – Tropical Storm Apr 19-21 pre-season in Eastern Atlantic

Bret – Tropical Storm Jun 19 – 20 landfall Venezuela

Cindy – Tropical Storm Jun 20 – 23 landfall central Gulf Coast

Don – Tropical Storm Jul 17 – 18 no effects on land

Franklin – Hurricane Cat 1 Aug 7- 10 affecting Yucatan Peninsula and eastern Mexico

Gert – Hurricane Cat 2 Aug 13 – 17 no effects on land

Harvey – Hurricane Cat 4 Aug 17 – Sep 1 Landfall Yucatan and massive flooding in Houston,Texas

Irma – Hurricane Cat 5 Aug 30 – Sep 12 Devastated Leeward Islands, northern Cuba, landfall SE Florida with coast to coast hurricane force wind

Jose – Hurricane Cat 4 Sep 5 – 21 no effects on land

Katia – Hurricane Cat 2 Sep 5 – 9 Landfall eastern Mexico

Lee – Hurricane Cat 3 Sep 15 – 29 no effects on land

Maria – Hurricane Cat 5 Sep 16 – Sep 30 Landfall in Caribbean islands, badly affecting Puerto Rico

Nate – Hurricane Cat 1 Oct 4 – 9 crossed central America and Yucatan

Ophelia – Hurricane Cat 3 Oct 9 – 15 no effects on land

Philippe – Tropical Storm Oct 28 – 29 crossed Cuba and Florida Keys

Rina – Tropical Storm Nov 6 – 9 no effects on land

Continue reading “2017 Hurricane Season Review” »