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ENVIRONMENT - March 2020

Mar 2020

Mar 26, 2020

Glaciers in Sikkim Are Losing Mass Faster Than Other Parts Of The Himalaya

  •  Scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun an autonomous research institute for the study of Geology of the Himalaya under the Department of Science and Technology, have found that glaciers in Sikkim are melting at a higher magnitude as compared to other Himalayan regions.
  • The study published in Science of the Total Environment assessed the response of 23 glaciers of Sikkim to climate change for the period of 1991-2015 and revealed that glaciers in Sikkim have retreated and deglaciated significantly from 1991 to 2015. Small-sized glaciers in Sikkim are retreating while larger glaciers are thinning due to climate change.

Great Barrier Reef Suffers Third Mass Bleaching In Five Years

  •  Australia's Great Barrier Reef has suffered another mass bleaching event - the third in just five years.
  • Warmer sea temperatures - particularly in February - are feared to have caused huge coral loss across the world's largest reef system.
  • Scientists say they have detected widespread bleaching, including extensive patches of severe damage. But they have also found healthy pockets.
  • Two-thirds of the reef was damaged by similar events in 2016 and 2017.
  • The reef system, which covers over 2,300km (1,400 miles), is a World Heritage site recognised for its "enormous scientific and intrinsic importance".

Mar 15, 2020

India Gained C Grade, no Country Made up to A Grade: Animal Protection Index 2020

  • World Animal Protection released the 2nd edition of global Animal Protection Index (API) 2020, where India gained C grade (also in 1st edition in 2014) with other 8 countries which indicates India is one of the better-performing countries. Tragically no country gained A grade.
  • Gist about API 2020
  • It aims to display whether countries are doing well & where they lack on animal welfare policy and legislation, so they could take steps to improve.
  • It helps the countries to have good animal welfare practices such as keeping animals clean, healthy and with sufficient space to exhibit natural behaviours.
  • It assesses the animal welfare policies and legislation of 50 countries and ranks them from A (highest score) to G (lowest score) with 10 indicators, grouped into 4 goals namely;
  • Recognition of animal sentience and prohibition of animal suffering
  • Presence of animal welfare legislation
  • Establishment of supportive government bodies
  • Support for international animal welfare standards

Mar 12, 2020

Greenland and Antarctica Ice Loss Accelerating

  • Earth's great ice sheets, Greenland and Antarctica, are now losing mass six times faster than they were in the 1990s thanks to warming conditions.
  • A comprehensive review of satellite data acquired at both Poles is unequivocal in its assessment of accelerating trends.
  • Between them, Greenland and Antarctica lost 6.4 trillion tonnes of ice in the period from 1992 to 2017.
  • This was sufficient to push up global sea-levels up by 17.8 mm.
  • Today, the ice sheets contribute about a third of all sea-level rise, whereas in the 1990s, their contribution was actually pretty small at about 5%. This has important implications for the future, for coastal flooding and erosion.

Mar 11, 2020

New Colony of Rare Freshwater Pearl Mussels

  • A new colony of endangered freshwater pearl mussels has been discovered in north Highland.
  • The rare species was uncovered during a watercourse survey being carried out before culvert replacement work.
  • The pearl mussels are similar in shape to common marine mussels, but can grow larger and live for up to 130 years in fast-flowing rivers.
  • The Highlands and Islands are among Britain's last strongholds for the critically-endangered species.
  • The location of the find is being kept secret to prevent illegal poaching.
  • The survey was carried out ahead of habitat improvement work funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and managed by Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS).

Mar 06, 2020

In 15 Years, Amazon Forest May Turn into CO2 Source

  • As per reports, the world's tropical forests are rapidly losing their ability to absorb carbon dioxide from greenhouse gas emissions, with the Amazon rainforest at risk of turning from carbon sink to source within 15 years.
  • Tropical forests provide humans with medicine, food, shelter and water and currently account for around half of all terrestrial carbon absorption.
  • But they are rapidly getting saturated as man-made emissions continue to climb year on year. Forests act as a carbon sink when the amount of carbon retrieved through photosynthesis outweighs that emitted by tree loss - be that through fire, drought or deforestation. The rate of forest decline varies throughout the world, with the Amazon's absorption ability dropping far faster than the tropical forests of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • A team of dozens of Europe- and Africa-based researchers monitored tree growth and mortality data from undisturbed forests across 11 countries in Africa stretching back over 50 years.
  • They then compared that data with similar measurements taken across more than 300 plots of Amazon rainforest.
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