The Dernogalizer

April 15, 2010

Chesapeake Bay’s Blue Crab Population Up 60%!

Filed under: environment,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 5:12 pm
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Finally, some good news from the Baltimore Sun’s Timothy Wheeler on the bay.  Excerpts below.

“The Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population has bounced back from dangerously low levels, Maryland officials announced Wednesday, reporting that a newly completed survey of the crustaceans counted more than have been seen in more than a decade.”

“Based on the annual winter dredge survey of crabs waiting out cold weather on the bottom of the bay, Maryland and Virginia scientists estimate there are 658 million of them, the greatest abundance since 1997. The population has increased by 60 percent over the previous winter, the scientists said, improving on the 50 percent rebound seen during the first year after catch restrictions were imposed.

“It’s the best news in 10 years,” said Ann Swanson, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, made up of legislators from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. She said it was “resounding” evidence that managing fisheries based on scientists’ advice works.”

“But O’Malley pointed out that the crab harvest grew last year even with tighter limits in place because there were more crabs to catch. Officials estimated that 53.7 million pounds of crabs were taken from the bay, 10 percent more than the year before but still below the level that might threaten the long-term sustainability of the population.”

“Larry W. Simns, president of the Maryland Watermen’s Association, said his members weren’t surprised by the survey results because they’d been seeing a lot of young, little crabs. But he conceded that the catch restrictions, particularly on females, appeared to bear fruit.

“The proof’s in the pudding,” he said. “Mother Nature does a lot of things that we don’t know about, but I would say that restricting the harvest of female crabs had to help.”

This winter’s survey, which samples 1,500 places around the bay for slumbering crabs, found that the number of juveniles had doubled — evidence that protecting the females has paid off, scientists say.”

“William Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, hailed the news and said it shows the bay can be resilient with a little help. Science-based policies and the cooperation between states have brought crabs back, he said. Now, the states and the federal government need to apply the same approach to cleaning up the bay’s pollution, he said.

Pointing to the crabs in the basket, Baker said, “These guys are going to spur the economy. They are the symbol of a bay that is fighting to come back. This shows us, with some good news that we really greatly need, that the bay can be saved.”


NOAA: Global Temps Push Last Month to Hottest March on Record

Filed under: Climate Change — Matt Dernoga @ 4:17 pm
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This information according to NOAA.  For previous posts on the science around global warming, see here.  Expectations are 2010 will set a new global temperature record.

The world’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made last month the warmest March on record, according to NOAA. Taken separately, average ocean temperatures were the warmest for any March and the global land surface was the fourth warmest for any March on record. Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January – March period on record.

The monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis, which is based on records going back to 1880, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.

Global Temperature Highlights – March 2010

  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for March 2010 was the warmest on record at 56.3°F (13.5°C), which is 1.39°F (0.77°C) above the 20th century average of 54.9°F (12.7°C).
  • The worldwide ocean surface temperature was the highest for any March on record –1.01°F (0.56°C) above the 20th century average of 60.7°F (15.9°C).
  • Separately, the global land surface temperature was 2.45°F (1.36°C) above the 20th century average of 40.8 °F (5.0°C) — the fourth warmest on record. Warmer-than-normal conditions dominated the globe, especially in northern Africa, South Asia and Canada. Cooler-than-normal regions included Mongolia and eastern Russia, northern and western Europe, Mexico, northern Australia, western Alaska and the southeastern United States.
  • El Niño weakened to moderate strength in March, but it contributed significantly to the warmth in the tropical belt and the overall ocean temperature. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, El Niño is expected to continue its influence in the Northern Hemisphere at least through the spring.
  • For the year-to-date, the combined global land- and ocean-surface temperature of 55.3°F (13.0°C) was the fourth warmest for a January-March period. This value is 1.19°F (0.66°C) above the 20th century average.
  • According to the Beijing Climate Center, Tibet experienced its second warmest March since historical records began in 1951. Delhi, India also had its second warmest March since records began in 1901, according to the India Meteorological Department.

    Other Highlights

    • Arctic sea ice covered an average of 5.8 million square miles (15.1 million square kilometers) during March. This is 4.1 percent below the 1979-2000 average expanse, and the fifth-smallest March coverage since records began in 1979. Ice coverage traditionally reaches its maximum in March, and this was the 17th consecutive March with below-average Arctic sea ice coverage. This year the Arctic sea ice reached its maximum size on March 31st, the latest date for the maximum Arctic sea ice extent since satellite records began in 1979.
    • Antarctic sea ice expanse in March was 6.9 percent below the 1979-2000 average, resulting in the eighth smallest March ice coverage on record.
    • In China, the Xinjiang province had its wettest March since records began in 1951, while Jilin and Shanghai had their second wettest March on record. Meanwhile, Guangxi and Hainan provinces in southern China experienced their driest March on record, according to the Beijing Climate Center.
    • Many locations across Ontario, Canada received no snow, or traces of snow, in March, which set new low snowfall records, according to Environment Canada.

    Scientists, researchers, and leaders in government and industry use NOAA’s monthly reports to help track trends and other changes in the world’s climate. This climate service has a wide range of practical uses, from helping farmers know what and when to plant, to guiding resource managers with critical decisions about water, energy and other vital assets.

    NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the oceans to surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

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