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Readers: Global Warming Is Affecting The Weather In The United States

Most readers agreed that global warming is affecting the weather in the United States.The examples are numerous, too many to be a coincidence.

ABOVE: A May 22, 2011 tornado devastated much of Joplin MO. Looking west from Main & East 24th, click image for aerial. Photo date November 8, 2011

Take March:

Record and near-record breaking temperatures dominated the eastern two-thirds of the nation and contributed to the warmest March for the contiguous United States since records began in 1895. More than 15,000 warm temperature records were broken during the month. The average temperature of 51.1°F was 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average. In the past 117 years, only one month (January 2006) has ever been so much warmer than its average temperature. (It’s official: March 2012 warmth topped the charts)

Last month it got ugly:

The storm center determined that 75 tornadoes touched down in Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Nebraska during a 24-hour period beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday. Six people died as a result of an overnight tornado that hit Woodward, Okla., about 140 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. No other deaths were reported. (Huffington Post)

Then in the news on April 23:

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A nor’easter packing soaking rain and springtime snow churned up the Northeast on Monday, unleashing a burst of winter, closing some schools and triggering power outages in communities that were basking in record warmth a month ago. (Washington Post)

And Saturday:

One person is dead, five others critically injured after powerful winds upended a huge tent outside a downtown St. Louis bar, sending tent poles flying through the crowd. (KMOV)

The above was the first of two storm systems in the St. Louis area, just hours apart.

ABOVE: Hail from the second storm on Saturday ripped leaves from street trees downtown such as these on 15th

In the poll there were some votes from likely Climate Change Deniers but most agree man has managed to alter weather patterns.

The poll results are below, the question came from page 16 of this report from Yale. National averages are the second percentages shown below:

How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Global warming is affecting the weather in the United States.

  1. Strongly agree 76 [61.29% / 26%]
  2. Somewhat agree 27 [21.77% / 43%]
  3. Somewhat disagree 11 [8.87% / 19%]
  4. Strongly disagree 10 [8.06% / 11%]

The original post introducing the poll is here.

– Steve Patterson



St. Louis Earth Day Festival; Poll On Global Warming

Earth Day is recognized all over the world today, including here in St. Louis:

The St. Louis Earth Day Festival is the oldest Earth Day festival in the Midwest and the third largest celebration in the country! Attracting 30,000+ attendees annually, the Festival is a premier destination for the public to learn about a wide-range of environmental issues in an engaging and entertaining setting. 

The St. Louis Earth Day Festival is today, Sunday April 22nd, from 11am to 6pm in Forest Park. The event is free.

ABOVE: Forest Park

The organizers, naturally, would prefer you not drive to Forest Park for the event, their “Planning Your Visit” page offers directions on using public transit, bicycling, walking and carpooling. Unfortunately, like most local events they mention MetroLink but forgot about MetroBus — you know the part of our public transit that carries more people daily.

The number of bus lines around Forest Park are too numerous to list. Besides taking a bus to Forest Park you can take a bus to one of the MetroLink stations to get on the light rail system. Buy a transfer on the bus ($2.75 total) and the transfer will also cover your MetroLink trip for 2 hours.

ABOVE: From Metro's Missouri system map, click to view (large PDF)


The poll this week seeks to see if readers see a connection between global warming and the weather in the US. The poll question was copied from a national poll that will be credited on Wednesday May 2, 2012 when the poll results are presented. The poll is in the right sidebar.

– Steve Patterson


Local Green Projects Received Awards

Green design is becoming more and more commonplace such that competition for awards among many green projects is now crowded. Last week I attended the Growing Green Awards hosted by the USGBC Gateway Chapter.

ABOVE: Cannon Design's St. Louis office

One award winner stood out to me because of the horrible condition the building was in prior to the renovation work. The 1928 building was a power house supplying heat to downtown buildings until 1980, when it was abandoned.

AWARDEE: Cannon Design

When Cannon Design chose to relocate their office – they were presented with an opportunity that allowed them not only to reuse and restore a unique and historic structure in the City of St. Louis but also redevelop a Brownfield site and develop an interior space that supports the most forward-thinking workplace while still maintaining the historic integrity of the architectural features. Almost 99% of the existing walls, floors and roof structure were reused while 92% of the construction waste was recycled. While many sustainability measures were taken during the restoration of the former steam generation plant, the one with arguably the biggest impact was Cannon’s commitment to reusing an existing building and identifying the reuse as an opportunity for creation rather than an hindrance of a vision.

Operational Excellence Nominees: Joe Abernathy – St. Louis Cardinals; Barnes-Jewish Hospital; Cannon Design; Graybar; Novus International; Tarlton

For more information on their office click here. Read about all those who received awards here. Congrats to all the nominees and winners.

– Steve Patterson


Readers Resist Transit As Gas Prices Rise

I’m not sure if its a love of cars/driving or a dislike of transit but readers in the poll last week indicated it will take a lot to get them to give up driving and use transit.

ABOVE: A large crowd waits to board the #70 Grand MetroBus at Union Station

Q: How Expensive Must Gas Get Before You Take Transit Instead of Drive?

  1. I already take transit and/or bike: 39 [33.05%]
  2. I’ll never take transit: 17 [14.41%]
  3. Other: 16 [13.56%]
  4. $10+ 14 [11.86%]
  5. $6 – $6.99: 13 [11.02%]
  6. $5 – $5.99: 10 [8.47%]
  7. $7 – $9.99: 6 [5.08%]
  8. $4 – $4.99: 3 [2.54%]

Wow, really? This tells me we can jack up taxes on gasoline to fund dramatically better transit and most of you will keep driving. Missouri should raise fuel taxes to be on par with neighboring states like Illinois (41.2¢/gallon). The average for the 50 states is 30.5¢/gallon but Missouri is at 17.3¢/gallon, slightly above Oklahoma (Source).

The high number of “other” answers were mostly those feeling guilty and/or defensive about driving:

  1. I can’t take transit to work, not a choice
  2. When I can get from St. Louis County to St. Charles County
  3. I will just work from home
  4. It rarely goes where I need it to – despite proximity to multiple bus routes!
  5. I take transit and walk. 🙂
  6. I’ll be riding my scooter
  7. When it doesnt take 2 hrs to travel, the same distance I can drive in 20 minutes
  8. When it’s cleaner and safer, maybe I’ll consider transit.
  9. i live 3 miles from work, it’s still not an issue for me.
  10. Tranist is not an option in my current job.
  11. I’d take transit now if there was better coverage near my home.
  12. I don’t have convenient transit access
  13. My job requires me to have a car.
  14. transit is not an option for my commute
  15. i’ll take it when it runs 24/7b

Do people only go from home to work and back? No, we don’t. We go to events, shopping, dinner, etc. I’d imagine many of you have made changes to your routines:

Nationally, 84% of those responding to an AAA survey released earlier this month say they’ve changed their routines as a result of soaring fuel prices. Better planning — combining errands into a single trip — was the most common way cited. (USA Today)

It will be interesting to watch as prices continue to rise.

– Steve Patterson


Permeable Concrete Reduces Water Runoff

Permeable, or pervious, concrete is becoming more and more common around the region but what is it?

Pervious concrete is a special type of concrete with a high porosity used for concrete flatwork applications that allows water from precipitation and other sources to pass directly through, thereby reducing the runoff from a site and allowing groundwater recharge. The high porosity is attained by a highly interconnected void content. Typically pervious concrete has little or no fine aggregate and has just enough cementitious paste to coat the coarse aggregate particles while preserving the interconnectivity of the voids. Pervious concrete is traditionally used in parking areas, areas with light traffic, residential streets, pedestrian walkways, and greenhouses. It is an important application for sustainable construction and is one of many low impact development techniques used by builders to protect water quality. (Wikipedia)

Sounds good but what does it look like?

ABOVE: Permeable concrete on the left during construction on South Grand, May 2011
ABOVE: Pervious concrete under the parked cars on the left at Dardenne Prairie City Hall

The rough texture takes some getting used to although in a context like South Grand it’s a nice contrast with the smooth concrete of the sidewalk area.What’s your thought on this type of concrete?

– Steve Patterson




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