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Archive By Author - Rudi Kiefer


Earth Sense: Why we need old-growth forests

If you take a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway this season to watch the leaves turn color, you'll be treated to nice views. But much of the wooded countryside consists of second-growth forest, following long periods of attempts to farm the land. In the Eastern U.S., reserves of old-growth forest have become small and are threatened by logging and development. Some estimates indicate that our old-growth inventory has shrunk to 10 percent of what it was in the 1600s.

October 05, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Continental air drift will bear teeth

There's no room for doubts when the weather forecast calls for "100 percent chance of precipitation." Such was the case on the last day of summer, Sept. 21. An enormous cold front stretched a line of clouds and rain showers from its southernmost point, the State of Michoacan in central Mexico, to Killiniq Island. That's the northernmost tip of Quebec and Labrador, 4,000 miles from Mexico City.

September 28, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Weather probability based on long-term patterns

One may not have heard of Lyons, Colo., before, but recent news brought this town into the spotlight. Isolated from all its surroundings by raging flood waters, this normally pretty town of 1,600 people took the brunt of heavy rains during the first weeks of September. Steep slopes on surrounding mountainsides funneled water straight through residential neighborhoods, causing death and injury, and making roadways collapse.

September 22, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Gasoline, however you create it, is a costly fuel

Turn the calendar back to October 1973. Israel was at war with Egypt, and Arab members of OPEC tried to stop the U.S. from supporting Israel by imposing an oil embargo. It caused gas shortages in the U.S. and much of Western Europe. Long lines and "no gas" signs at the pumps were the result over here.

September 15, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Hurricane season is quiet so far

"What's up with the weather?" asked a recent cover page on National Geographic. Once again, nature is not complying with the rules which we scientists are trying to nail down.

September 07, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Oakwood makes effort to save energy

A truck stands idling in front of the café, spewing diesel fumes, while its driver is having lunch inside. That scene from John Steinbeck's novel, "The Grapes of Wrath," won't be playing out with city-owned vehicles in Oakwood. This Hall County community has been making intense efforts toward resource conservation.

September 01, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Remember air’s tendencies to keep house comfy

Going from air conditioning to heating, and back again, is common in North Georgia's changeable weather. The problem with this is the fact that chilled air behaves very differently than heated air.

August 25, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Atlantic subduction could lead to more quakes

Nov. 1, 1755, started out with a fine morning. Bright sunshine and balmy temperatures greeted churchgoers as they prepared to celebrate All Saints Day.

August 18, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Waterspouts can be dangerous when they reach land

Vacationers at the Florida Coast and at the Great Lakes had a good chance to see a waterspout this season. Because of its close resemblance to a tornado, a waterspout can look really frightening. What makes it so distinctly visible is the column of water that's hurled upward by the swirling wind.

August 11, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Blueways, water trails new ways to enjoy nature

An emerging trend across the nation is the designation of "blueways." In spring 2012, the Department of the Interior initiated a system of waterways with boat launch points and camping sites, intended to protect the natural landscape while at the same time allowing for recreational uses such as paddling and kayaking.

August 03, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Wet summer not directly linked to climate shift

Anybody hoping for another dry, parched summer this season must have been disappointed.

July 27, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Floods can result from bad building decisions

Residents of Calgary, Alberta, will be digging out from the mud for weeks to come. Torrential rains resulted in massive flooding that started on June 20. Some areas, including the Saddledome, a popular hockey venue, were submerged to a height of 15 feet.

July 07, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Railway travel offers beautiful scenery

Railroads are an excellent means for experiencing the scenic beauty of mountain regions. Suitable for an afternoon excursion, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is within two hours' drive from Gainesville. Board the train in Bryson City, N.C., for a trip deep down into Nantahala Gorge.

June 30, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Mammatus clouds and hail are signs of severe weather

Among the video footage of the Moore, Okla., tornado of May 20 available online now, some scenes shot while the twisters were touching down are disturbing. You see cars on the road and traffic patterns that look quite normal, except for the huge funnel approaching in the background.

June 23, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Proper drainage can prevent basement leaks

Boats leak from the bottom. But a house can leak from the top or the bottom.

June 15, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


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Articles By Author - Rudi Kiefer


Earth Sense: Stone Mountain a pluton, not an old, extinct volcano

Just 15 miles northeast of Atlanta, a round granite formation stands 800 feet tall. Stone Mountain generates a lot of questions, but also misconceptions.

September 13, 2014 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Coffee trends continuing to shatter market stereotypes

Pop quiz: Most popular beverage in Germany? If you guessed "beer", you got it wrong. Germans drink more coffee than beer.

September 06, 2014 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


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