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Climate Change affecting the glacier in Himalaya Karakoram range:

  • 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 in the Himalaya-Karakoram (HK) ranges.
  • The HK region in South Asia, often called the water tower of Asia or the Third Pole is one of the most heavily glacierized mountain regions on Earth.
  • Understanding the response of HK rivers to climate change is crucial for almost 1 billion people who partly depend on these water resources.
  • Total river runoff, glacier melt, and seasonality of flow in these rivers are projected to increase until the 2050s, with some exceptions and large uncertainties.
  • The study shows that glacier and snow melt are important components of HK rivers with greater hydrological importance for the Indus than Ganga and Brahmaputra basins.
  • The Himalayan river basins cover an area of 2.75 million km2 and have the largest irrigated area of 577,000 km2, and the world’s largest installed hydropower capacity of 26,432 MW.
  • The melting glaciers fulfils the water requirements of more than a billion people of the region who will be affected when much of the glacier ice mass melts throughout this century and gradually stops supplying the required amount of water.
  • Region-wide, the total impact on each year’s water supply varies. Glacier meltwater, and climate change impacts on glaciers, are more crucial for the Indus basin in comparison to the Ganga and Brahmaputra basins which are predominantly fed by monsoon rains and are affected mainly due to the changing rainfall patterns.
  • Projected trends in river runoff volume and seasonality over the 21st century are consistent across a range of climate change scenarios. Total river runoff, glacier melt, and seasonality of flow are projected to increase until the 2050s, and then decrease, with some exceptions and large uncertainties.
  • The work supported by INSPIRE Faculty fellowship funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), GoI identified gaps in understanding the impacts of climate change on the Himalayan water resources, and highlighted prospective solutions to bridge these gaps. This INSPIRE Faculty project
  • Policymakers need to assess the current status and potential future changes of rivers for sustainable water resource management for agriculture, hydropower, drinking, sanitation, and hazard situations.
  • The authors recommend a tiered approach to address the identified gaps: Tier-1 includes an expanded observation network that places fully automatic weather stations on selected glaciers.
  • They also suggest developing comparison projects to examine glacier area and volumes, glacier dynamics, permafrost thaw, and snow and ice sublimation. Meanwhile, Tier-2 recommendations implement the knowledge of these studies in detailed models of glacier hydrology to reduce the uncertainty in projections of future change.

SIR model for Covid 19 Forecast predictions by IIT Kanpur:

  • India infection has peaked in the first week of May and is currently on steep decline except for a few states. Average count of daily cases has become nearly 60% of its value on May 8, 2021 due to interventions.
  • Test positivity rate (TPR) has also reduced from very high value of about 23% on May 8, 2021 to about 12% due to increased daily testing capacity.
  • Case fatality rate (CFR) has increased to nearly 1.7% but is expected to go down soon with decrease in active infections.
  • High TPR (>20%): Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamilnadu, Odisha, Northeast states.
  • Low TPR (<10%): UP, Delhi, Gujarat, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, MP, Chhatisgarh, J&K, Punjab, Telangana, Uttarakhand.
  • Lowest CFRs: Odisha (0.2%), Kerala (0.5%). Highest CFRs: Delhi (8%), Maharashtra (3.7%)
  • States yet to saturate: West Bengal, Odisha, All Northeast states

Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030):

  • The United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean.
  • The marine realm is the largest component of the Earth’s system that stabilizes climate and support life on Earth and human well-being.
  • However, the First World Ocean Assessment released in 2016 found that much of the ocean is now seriously degraded, with changes and losses in the structure, function and benefits from marine systems.
  • In addition, the impact of multiple stressors on the ocean is projected to increase as the human population grows towards the expected 9 billion by 2050.
  • Scientific understanding of the ocean’s responses to pressures and management action is fundamental for sustainable development. Ocean observations and research are also essential to predict the consequences of change, design mitigation and guide adaptation.
  • As mandated by the UN General Assembly, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO will coordinate the Decade’s preparatory process, inviting the global ocean community to plan for the next ten years in ocean science and technology to deliver, together, the ocean we need for the future we want!

Deep Ocean Mission:

  • The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago.
  • The focus of the missionwill be on deep-sea mining, ocean climate change advisory services, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics related technologies.
  • Two key projectsplanned in the ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ report include a desalination plant powered by tidal energy and a submersible vehicle that can explore depths of at least 6,000 metres.
  • The ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ plan will enable India to develop capabilities to exploit resources in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).
  • India has been allotted 75,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by UN International Sea Bed Authorityfor exploration of poly-metallic nodules. CIOB reserves contain deposits of metals like iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
  • It is envisaged that 10% of recovery of that large reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years.
  • It has been estimated that 380 million metric tonnes of polymetallic nodules are available at the bottom of the seas in the Central Indian Ocean.
  • Polymetallic nodules (also known as manganese nodules) are potato-shaped, largely porous nodules found in abundance carpeting the sea floor of world oceans in deep sea.
  • Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, titanium, of which nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance.