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Himansh, India’s remote, high-altitude station opens in Himalayas

A high altitude glaciological research station in Himalaya called Himansh (meaning a slice of ice) began functioning above 13,500 ft (4000 m) in a remote region in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.

Researchers will use this station as a base for undertaking surveys that would digitize the glacier motion and snow cover variations with exceptional precision.

Key Facts

  • Himansh station will provide much needed fillip to the scientific research on Himalayan glaciers and its hydrological contribution.
  • The research lab has been established by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) in Spiti Valley, one of the most uninhabited parts of the country
  • The station houses instruments to quantify glacier melting and its relation to changing climate.
  • Some of the instruments available at this research facility include automatic weather stations, ground penetrating radars, geodetic GPS systems and other sophisticated facilities.
  • It will also serve as the base for Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for undertaking surveys.

Significance

  • The Himalayan region has the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar caps. It is called the “Water Tower of Asia”.
  • It is source of 10 major river systems that provide irrigation, drinking water and power for over 700 million people (10% of world’s population) living in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • Thus, understanding behaviour of these Himalayan glaciers and their contribution to sustainable supply of water for mankind and agriculture is one of grand challenges of Indian scientific community.

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New termite species named Chiraharitae discovered

A new termite species Glyptotermes Chiraharitae was discovered at Kakkayam in the Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala.

It has been named ‘Chiraharitae’ after the tropical evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, where it was spotted.

Key Facts

  • Termites are of three types —damp wood, dry wood and subterranean. Glyptotermes Chiraharitae species are of the damp wood category.
  • They infest parts of woods with high moisture content, the decaying or rotting areas in particular. They are exclusively wood dwelling and do not require any contact with soil.
  • The flying adults of this species are approximately 10 mm long, while the soldiers are around 9.5 mm long.
  • Its relatives are known to attack mango, sal, Rhododendron, banyan trees, Artocarpus, silver oak, and jamun trees.

Compared with other insect groups, termites are not a multifarious speciose. In India there 285 species of termites and among them 61 are documented from Kerala.

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President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates World Sustainable Development Summit

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the first edition of World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.

The summit was organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) with the theme Beyond 2015: People, Planet and Progress.

Key Facts

  • WSDS has replaced TERI’s earlier called Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS). The first DSDS was organised in 2005.
  • It underscored need for businesses and private sector to take lead in poverty reduction and to ensure rapid and sustained adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • It had brought together Nobel laureates, decision-makers political leaders from around the world to deliberate on issues related to sustainable development.
  • The aim of the summit is to provide various stakeholders a single platform in order to provide long-term solutions for the benefit of the global community.
  • 2016 WSDS also hosted events like World CEO Sustainability Summit, Thematic Tracks, Media Colloquium, Youth Leaders and Greenovation Exhibition.
For more information: About TERI

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