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ENVIRONMENT - December 2020

Dec 2020

Jun 24, 2021

Glacier Melt in Himalayas to Increase Rapidly Till 2050

  • Snow and glaciers are melting rapidly in the Himalayan range due to climate change, altering water supplies in the rivers like Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra that flow through the Himalaya-Karakoram (HK) ranges.
  • According to a study, "Glacio-hydrology of the Himalaya-Karakoram," undertaken at the Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, total river runoff, glacier melt, and seasonality of flow in these rivers are projected to increase until the 2050s, with some exceptions and thereafter is expected to decrease.
  • The HK region in South Asia, often called the water tower of Asia or the Third Pole is one of the most heavily glacierised mountain regions on Earth and understanding the response of HK rivers to climate change is crucial for almost a billion people who depend on these water resources.

Jun 23, 2021

Odisha Only State to Have All Three Species of Crocodiles

  • Odisha has the singular distinction of being the only state in India to boast of three species of crocodiles. It has freshwater gharials (Gavialis gangeticus) at Satkosia in Mahanadi, mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) in Similipal and saltwater crocodiles in Bhitarkanika National Park.
  • And now it is time for the State to rejoice since after 1975, when gharials were introduced in rivers, Odisha sees the natural nesting of these reptiles. For the first time 28 hatchlings were spotted in May 2021 end in the Mahanadi, in the Baladamara area near Satkosia range.
  • Considering the significance of the event, officials have been monitoring them closely since, with round-the-clock surveillance with drones.

Jun 22, 2021

UN Committee: Great Barrier Reef should be Listed as 'in Danger'

  • The Great Barrier Reef should be added to a list of "in danger" World Heritage Sites a UN committee recommended, prompting an angry response from Australia which said it had been blindsided by the move and blamed political interference.
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation committee, which sits under UNESCO, said the world's biggest coral reef system should be added to the list due to the impact of climate change.
  • Australia has for years been battling to keep the Great Barrier Reef, a major tourist attraction that supports thousands of jobs, off the "in danger" list. In 2015, UNESCO noted the outlook for the reef was poor but kept the site's status unchanged. Since then, scientists say it has suffered three major coral bleaching events due to severe marine heatwaves.

Jun 21, 2021

'Doomsday Glacier' May be more Stable than Initially Feared

  • According to new findings led by the University of Michigan, the world's largest ice sheets may be in less danger of sudden collapse than previously predicted.
  • The study included simulating the demise of West Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, one of the world's largest and most unstable glaciers. Researchers modeled the collapse of various heights of ice cliffs—near-vertical formations that occur where glaciers and ice shelves meet the ocean. They found that instability doesn't always lead to rapid disintegration.
  • The new findings add nuance to a previous theory called marine ice cliff instability, which suggested that if the height of an ice cliff reaches a certain threshold, it can suddenly disintegrate under its own weight in a chain reaction of ice fractures. The Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica—sometimes referred to as the "Doomsday Glacier"—is moving closer to this threshold and could contribute nearly 3 feet to sea level rise in the event of a complete collapse. At 74,000 square miles, it's roughly the size of Florida, and is particularly susceptible to climate and ocean changes.

Jun 20, 2021

India-Bhutan Ink MoU to Cooperate in Areas of Environment

  • India and Bhutan have signed a MoU to develop cooperation between two countries in the area of environment.
  • MoU was signed virtually by Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar.
  • It will open new vistas of bilateral cooperation in the area of climate change, waste management etc.
  • MoU will act as a platform to enhance Indian and Bhutanese partnership & support and exchange best practices in areas like prevention of Air Pollution, Chemical Management, Waste Management, Climate Change, etc.
  • It also provides the possibility to have joint projects in areas of mutual interest.
  • It seeks to strengthen technological, scientific & management capabilities and expand areas of cooperation in the area of environment so as to promote a mutually beneficial partnership.
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