Arctic region is clad in snow and ice both on its landmass and sea. Its glaciers are freshwater reserves for the world. Because of Arctic warming, there has been a reduction in the expanse and thickness of sea ice and an increase in the open sea. How do these changes impact climate and weather especially in countries like India albeit being remotely located?
Although India and Arctic region are remote, these regions impact each other via the atmosphere and oceans, in short-and long-term, respectively. In the short term, extreme rainfall in Northern India impacts Arctic melting. In the long term, Arctic warming and melting of land ice will eventually increase the sea levels and temperature of the Indian Ocean and will shrink the Indian coast.
Scientific papers have documented that the Earth’s Arctic region is warming a two-three times higher rate than the global average of around 0.5ËšC per decade. Why is it that the Arctic region is warming up at this relatively higher pace compared to the rest of the world?
Arctic region is unique and is warming at a high pace due to many feedback mechanisms operating together. First, high atmospheric temperature causes melting of Arctic ice which increases the extent of open sea. More open sea absorbs more solar heat which warms ocean waters. When ocean waters warm up, the air above the ocean water also warms up, creating a positive feedback loop that results in increasing both atmospheric and oceanic temperatures. This phenomenon is known as the temperature-albedo feedback. Warming the ocean also increases evaporation from the oceans which condenses to form a cloud cover. More clouds prevent heat escape from the lower atmosphere, which increases the atmospheric and oceanic temperatures even further. This phenomenon is called the temperature clouds-radiation feedback. Clouds also contribute to cooling by reflecting some of the incoming solar radiation. Hence, the time of the year when the clouds form becomes important. Clouds that form during winters will increase temperatures and those that form during summers will contribute to cooling.
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Plastic Waste Management - Turning Challenges into Opportunities
Plastic waste generation is expected to increase to 31.4 million tonnes by 2031 and further to 55 million tonnes by 2041 (Statista 2019), thus showcasing an urgent need to address the concerns from the growing plastic waste in our country. Dr Suneel Pandey and Sourabh Manuja tell us that a recent discussion paper, Plastic Waste Management: Turning Challenges into Opportunities, published by TERI brings forth a few recommendations to turn plastic waste management challenges into opportunities. lastics not only are enduring, tonnes of plastics in 2018–19 (PlastIndia those uneconomical for collection
The Secretive Lives of the Wild Cats of India
Did you know that living in the shadow of their famous and iconic larger relatives, there are 10 small and secretive wild cats in India? Sandesh Kadur, a National Geographic Fellow and BAFTA award-winning cameraman, has carefully documented them on film, for National Geographic Wild and for us to enjoy. Dr Marianne Furtado de Nazareth tells us about his vivid experiences in this endeavour.
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Turning Waste Plastic into 'Ecobricks'
In this article, Sarita Brara highlights the efforts of children of vulnerable communities towards envisioning a plastic-free society. Read on to find out more about their innovation called ‘ecobricks’.
Constitution Salvages Environment - State Ensures All-round Development
In this article, Gajanan Khergamker says apart from ensuring that the law on environment is enforced equitably across India, the State has to provide the perfect platform to balance development and environment. He cites different examples to make his point clear.
A Win-Win Fuel
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In the recent past, the Bay of Bengal has witnessed frequent cyclones. In 2011, when Cyclone Thane struck the coasts of Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, many farmers looked for a crop that could withstand climatic fluctuations. Sharada Balasubramanian says vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides)—a hardy grass—was found to be a suitable alternative to cashew and casuarina, which were often getting toppled by cyclone. Farmers found this not just climate-resilient, but also profitable from an income perspective.
Engineers Discover New Microbe
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India is recognized as a tsunami service provider for the Indian Ocean region by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). IOC is a global body supporting global ocean science and services. In August 2020, the IOC recognized two coastal villages of Odisha as 'Tsunami Ready' for their tsunami preparedness. The country has a well-equipped tsunami early warning system in place since 2007, but what is it more that India needs to be fully tsunami ready? The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) in Hyderabad—an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India—has been providing ocean information and advisory services to the country for nearly two decades now. This includes issuing warnings and alerts about tsunamis, high waves, swells, storm-surges, and other ocean-related phenomena through sustained ocean observations and continuous improvements through research. In an interview with Dr T Srinivasa Kumar, Director, INCOIS, we understand the present status of tsunami readiness in India and what must be done by the country to be ready to combat dangers from impending tsunamis in the future.
YOGA & PEACE
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THE MAKING OF A MODEL MINORITY
Indian Americans rarely stop to ask why our entrance into American society has been so rapid—or to consider what we have in common with other nonwhite Americans.
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