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April 22: Earth Day

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. It was first celebrated in 1970, and since then it is celebrated in more than 193 countries by over a billion people every year. Earth Day celebrations are coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

Earth Day 2017’s Campaign is Environmental & Climate Literacy. Environmental and climate literacy was chosen as it is important for creating green voters and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies across the globe as well as to accelerate green technologies and jobs.

Earth Day

Every year Earth Day is being observed on the 22nd April to build support for environmental protection around the world. It aims to encourage people to carry out activities that will benefit the Earth, such as recycling more, using solar power or plant trees.

Earth Day celebrations are a way to remind humans of environmental deterioration caused by them and advise them to turn off the electronic devices that are not in use or taking public transport to reduce the emission levels. It recognises that Earth and its ecosystems provide its inhabitants with life and sustenance. It also aims to raise awareness that humans have a collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature and to balance the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations.

The concept of observing Earth Day was formally proposed by John McConnell at a UNESCO conference on Environment in 1969. Later in 1971, a proclamation was signed to observe international Earth Day annually on the Vernal Equinox by UN Secretary-General U Thant.

On Earth Day 2016, historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change was signed. The agreement is legally binding on signatory countries to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

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Sea ice hits record winter low at both poles: Scientists

According to US and European scientists, the extent of sea ice at both poles has hit new record lows for this time of the year.

The disappearing sea ice comes as the Earth marks three consecutive years of record-breaking heat and temperature rise, raising fresh concerns about the accelerating pace of global warming. 

Key Findings 
  • Artic region: The ice floating in the Arctic Ocean grows and shrinks on a seasonal cycle every year, reaching its largest size in March and smallest at the end of the summer melt in September.
  • But this year’s Arctic maximum spanned 14.42 million sq.km i.e. 95,829 sq.km below the previous record low in 2015. This year’s ice cover is 12,19,884 sq.km smaller compared to average sea ice extent for 1981-2010.
  • The Arctic sea ice maximum has dropped by an average of 2.8% per decade since 1979. There was a lot of open ocean water and very slow ice growth because the water had a lot of accumulated.
  • Antartic region: The ice in the Antarctic also follows a seasonal cycle but its maximum comes in September and its minimum around February (summer in Southern Hemisphere).
  • In the Antarctic, this year’s annual sea ice was 21,10,840 sq.km, about 1,83,889 sq.km below the previous lowest minimum extent in the satellite record, which occurred in 1997.
  • For the past two years, Antarctica saw record high sea ice extents and decades of moderate sea ice growth.

Ice level

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March 23: World Meteorological Day

The World Meteorological Day (WMD) is observed every year on 23rd March to mark establishment of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on this day in 1950.

2017 Theme:Understanding Clouds”. It seeks to highlight the enormous importance of clouds for weather climate and water. They play a critical role in the water cycle and shaping the global distribution of water resources. Clouds are central to weather observations and forecasts. Clouds are one of the key uncertainties in the study of climate change.

On this occasion, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) launched new edition of the International Cloud Atlas. It is a treasure trove of hundreds of images of clouds, including a few newly classified cloud types and is single authoritative and most comprehensive reference for identifying clouds. It also features other meteorological phenomena such as rainbows, halos, snow devils and hailstones.  This Atlas for the first time has been produced in a digital format and is accessible via both computers and mobile devices.

Background

On this day in 1950 the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Convention came into force that aimed at creating WMO. Later in 1951, WMO became United Nations specialized agency for meteorology, geophysical sciences and operational hydrology. 

About World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

  • WMO is an intergovernmental organization whose mandate covers weather, climate and water resources. It is UN specialized agency for meteorology, operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences
  • It is dedicated to international cooperation and coordination on state and behaviour of Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with land and oceans, the weather and climate and distribution of water resources.
  • It has 191 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

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