New Jersey Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Conservation Foundation Menu
NJCF Homepage Contact Us Donate Events Search NJCF
New Jersey Land Conservation Organization
Donate to New Jersey Conservation Foundation
State We're In New Jersey Conservation Foundation Blog
Weather extremes may be New Jersey's new normal
3/23/2017 Volume XLVII, No. 12

In case you didn’t notice, New Jersey’s weather in the last couple of months has been upside-down. Most of February was weirdly spring-like – in fact, the warmest February on record in the state – while March has behaved more like a typical February.

Get used to it. Greater variability in weather may be the most immediate impact of climate change on New Jersey, according to State Climatologist David Robinson.

Robinson, the keynote speaker at the 21st annual New Jersey Land Conservation Rally on March 17, said there have been “a lot more extremes” in weather during the last few decades as a result of human impacts on the climate.

“A preponderance of evidence suggests that climate change is occurring and humans are responsible for significant portions of recent changes,” he stated.

At a time when climate change is being questioned by our national political leadership, how is Robinson so sure that human action is the cause? He firmly believes that scientific theory, observations and models together add up to solid evidence.

A geology professor at Rutgers University, Robinson relies on observations in his work. His specialty is tracking global snow cover, a key indicator of the warming of Earth’s atmosphere.

“In the spring, each successive decade the snow is melting earlier,” he said. The polar ice sheet is shrinking at “rates I never thought I’d see in my lifetime.”

At the same time, he noted, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere “has risen precipitously in the last 50 years.”  Carbon dioxide is mainly created by the burning of fossil fuels like oil and gas.

Carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere act like a thermal blanket, trapping heat. “Physics tells us that this greenhouse gas science works,” Robinson said.

Scientific theory and more than a century of weather observations are used to create computer models to predict future trends like rising temperatures, more precipitation, increased weather variability and higher sea levels.

In addition to weather variability, said Robinson, climate change in New Jersey may mean hotter, drier summers; warmer, wetter winters; and more floods from too much rain falling at once. Another major impact is rising sea levels that could inundate the state’s coastal barrier islands in the next 100 years.

What can be done about climate change?

In a sense, said Robinson, there’s no stopping it: “The train has left the station – we’re not going back.” It would take centuries to fully reverse the impacts.

But that doesn’t mean people should give up hope. “We can slow the train,” he assured land conservation rally attendees.

Four steps, he said, are needed to fight climate change:

  • Knowledge – Developing a better understanding of the details and complexities of climate change;
  • Mitigation – Taking actions like reducing carbon emissions and increasing sources of clean energy;
  • Adaptation – Building communities that are more resilient to weather extremes and, where needed, moving people away from flood-prone and coastal areas;
  • Leadership – Raising awareness of the challenges ahead.

New Jersey’s land conservation community can play an important role, said Robinson, by preserving and restoring as much of the state’s natural environment as possible. Trees and plants remove carbon from the atmosphere and emit oxygen, while preserved lands soak up rainwater and prevent flooding.

Individuals can help by conserving energy, writing to their elected representatives and voting, and joining organizations that are taking action for the climate.

Take action for the climate – and this state we’re in! Tell your representative in Congress that research and action to address climate change and advance energy conservation are important to you. Closer to home, educate yourself about the candidates in this year’s New Jersey gubernatorial and legislative elections - and vote for those who will protect the state’s environment and natural resources. Reduce your own “carbon footprint” by saving energy wherever possible.

To learn more about New Jersey’s climate, go to and For tips on energy efficiency, go to  

And to learn more about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at or contact me at



Vernal pools: Now you see 'em, now you don't

State targets illegal dumpers in parks and forests

Former governors and elected leaders stand up for environment

Join CSAs to support local farms, save money, eat better

Weather extremes may be New Jersey's new normal

Bald eagles and ospreys rebound in New Jersey

Pine Barrens prescribed fires: A renewal force

Take a walk on the bottom of the sea!

Energy efficiency saves money and land - and creates jobs!

The Pines of March

Trees are more social than you think!

New Jersey's geological 'layer cake'

Keeping the 'great' in Paterson's Great Falls

Some good news!

Take action to defend and protect land and water

Interested in ecology? Become a Rutgers Environmental Steward

2016 wins and losses for New Jersey's land and water

Kick off a healthy New Year with First Day hike

Energy infrastructure: the new sprawl

Two great books for connecting kids with nature

Why do some trees stay green while others lose their leaves?

Melting ice, rising seas, hotter planet

Our forests never sleep, even in winter!

Documentary brings Great Swamp battle back to life

Defending the land they loved

Four years after Sandy, rising sea levels predicted

New Jersey: Small state, big diversity

10 great natural areas for enjoying fall colors

Removing obsolete dams brings rivers back to life

Humpback whales a welcome sight off NJ coast

NJ wine industry boosts agritourism

For good health, bathe in a forest!

Let's NOT make a deal!

New Jersey's spectacular waterfalls

Urban trees boost health and land values

Blue Acres: A win-win for open space, owners of flooded homes

Get mosquitos to buzz off - naturally!

Flawed pipeline approval process needs reforms

Speak out for our Atlantic Ocean and coast!

Help Pokemon Go lead into outdoors and nature

NJ 4th in peaches; don't miss out on peach season!

Water, water everywhere - keep it safe to drink!

Growing beer in the Garden State

Celebrate NJ's Revolutionary War parks and open spaces on July 4

Override Governor's veto of open space bill

Taming the wild blueberry 100 years ago

Celebrate and take action during National Pollinator Week

Get on the Circuit for National Trails Day

New tax deduction would give boost to NJ non-profits

Best nature movies


April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011


New Jersey Conservation Foundation on FacebookNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on TwitterNew Jersey Conservation Foundation on FlickrNew Jersey Conservation Foundation YouTube ChannelShare      
New Jersey Conservation Foundation           Bamboo Brook, 170 Longview Road, Far Hills, NJ 07931           908-234-1225 
home  | nj statewide eventscontact us  |  sitemap  |  privacy policy  |  DONATE