The Greenhouse Effect In last week’s article I gave you the basic overview of what I think the science really says about human induced global warming. Let’s start this article by taking a look at the poorly named greenhouse effect. I think there are several things about our atmosphere most people are not aware of. The first is that the energy from the sun, short wave radiation, does not heat up the air. About half of the solar radiation is reflected back into space from clouds, water, ice, etc while the other half is absorbed by the ground. As the ground absorbs the short wave radiation, it heats up and emits what is called long wave radiation back into the atmosphere and this long wave radiation is what heats the air. Some of this long wave radiation passes through the atmosphere back out into space but most is absorbed by greenhouse gas molecules and clouds, then re-emitted in all directions. Much of the re-emitted radiation goes back to earth while other greenhouse gas molecules and clouds absorb some of this energy only to re-emit it again. The effect of all of this is to warm the air. Without our atmosphere, the earth would average about 50 degrees colder than it is now. However, at no time does the atmosphere act like a blanket or a greenhouse and trap heat. When someone says CO2 traps heat in the atmosphere they don’t understand what is actually occurring. Nothing is trapped. The energy courses through the system without being trapped within it and this process, poorly labeled the greenhouse effect, is absolutely necessary for life as we know it. If the amount of energy leaving the top of the atmosphere equals the amount of energy being added to the atmosphere from the sun and the greenhouse gases, the earth’s average temperature will remain unchanged. Many natural processes such as a change in the amount of cloud cover or volcanic eruptions disturb this balance and the earth is always cooling or warming slightly at any time. It seems to be rather intuitive then that if you add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, you will increase the temperature of the atmosphere. The question is, how much? There are currently […]
April 28 2011
Volunteers needed to provide fresh vegetables The North Kent Community Services received over 3,570 pounds of fresh vegetables last year to distribute to families in need. That huge amount of food was planted and harvested by a handful of volunteers who worked an acre of land to create a Community Garden. The NKCS is the largest food pantry in Kent County and services over 12,000 families. The fresh vegetables were a welcome sight for families who normally received canned or frozen when they pick up groceries. The land that the volunteers plant and harvest is donated by Merrill Post of Post Berry Farms on Myers Lake Avenue and 12 Mile Road. For the third year in a row, Mr. Post has set aside an acre of land that he tills, fertilizes, and waters to make sure that the plants will grow. He even allows the group a space in his own private garden, where a high fence keeps the deer away from the tender bean plants. Post also donates to the NKCS corn, pumpkins, berries and other food that the volunteers do not grow in the Community Garden. All of the seeds needed for planting are donated by The Cedar Mill in Cedar Springs. Also, several of the group members start seeds in peat pots or flats at home. This year, there are two specific planting dates already set. Many more volunteers are needed because the goal is to harvest 2 tons of food this year. If you would like to help, volunteers may attend on Wednesday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at Post Farms, 9849 Myers Lake Road, to plant seeds in the greenhouse. Once the seeds are ready to be transplanted outside, other dates and times will be determined for planting and a schedule will be set for weeding and harvesting. If you love to garden, want to learn more about gardening, need to put in hours for community service at your school, or have a desire to feed people in need, then call Deb McIntyre, volunteer coordinator at the NKCS, at 616-866-3478 ext. 103 Monday through Thursday from 8 am. to 6 p.m.\. No gardening experience is necessary.
The beetle battle against purple loosestrife that began in May of 2007 continues in May of 2011. Like with so many non native invasive species “control” is all we have to work with. In this case that is the good news, because in so many others we have no control at all or if we do it is a chemical control. But we need to work to keep the news good and the invader under control. I want to share a little of what I have learned from this effort over the past four years. First that there are always some folks ready and willing to get involved on a worthy project. Absolutely great and I thank each and every person and organization for their effort! One thing that had me wondering almost from the beginning is if the control is so good why is it I can go back every year to some of my original sources for beetles for more beetles. I remember going back to one very infested spot one year to gather some beetles and there were absolutely none to be found or purple loosestrife. The only variable I noticed was that when there is around a foot of water the Loosestrife is growing in the beetles were not very effective but beetles are generally there. When there is little water or at a shore line the beetles were effective and not there the next year. The good news from this is I/we can always get beetles for spreading around. Why would that be because in most cases the beetles we place effectively reducing the infestation allowing native plants to regain their natural strength? I contacted an expert at MSU and shared what I am experiencing and found that is their experience too. It has something to do with the winter hibernation of the beetle and I’m not sure hibernation is the correct term but I suspect you understand what I mean. It is important to understand and remember that this beetle eats absolutely nothing else so eats itself out of house and home. So here we go again in May 2011 spreading the Purple Loosestrife control beetle Gallerucella calmariensis, and volunteers are the key again. This program has lots of […]
Karn Crooks has been with the Rockford Squire newspaper as an account representative since June, 2009. Karn grew up on the east side of the state in a suburb between Detroit and Ann Arbor, where most of her roots were planted. Now she lives in Rockford and many of her family members have transfered to the Grand Rapids area. In sales and marketing for over 30 years, Karn has worked in areas ranging from a manufacturer’s rep in the sporting goods and fitness industry to selling international foods in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area. “My job is always an adventure, not only because I am able to travel to many different areas in the greater Rockfcord area, Grand Rapids, and surrounding communities, but also because I get a lot of pleasure out of meeting a diverse group of clients and prospective clients,” Karn said. “I like learning about their business and how our paper can best serve them. They deserve the best treatment because they are what keeps our paper going.” When not working, Karn enjoys music, watching and playing sports as well as gardening and enjoying the beautiful birds we have in West Michigan. The Squire is very fortunate to have such a professional and personable group of staff members and we enjoy sharing their stories with our readers.