Monsoon Current Affairs

Black Carbon released by aeroplanes may be affecting ozone, monsoon: Study

According to a recent study by climate researchers, aeroplanes may be ejecting significant amounts of black carbon (BC) which in turn is affecting monsoon,  depleting the ozone layer and quickening glacier melt.

The study was conducted by climate researchers from multiple institutions in India including from the Indian Institute of Science and ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.

Key Facts

Earlier it was believed that airborne BC is unlikely to travel upward of 4 km and dissipate and settle down in few months under the influence of wind and rain. However, this study shows that such particles exist up to 18 km into the stratosphere, a stable region of the atmosphere.

Given the shape and location of these BC particles, researchers believe they could only derive from emissions from burning of aviation fuel in aeroplanes. As BC particles absorb heat, they warm the surrounding air, become lighter and rise to greater heights by a process called self-lift and persist for longer time in the air.

The airborne BC particles released by aeroplanes possess a problem because they can linger long time, enough to provide a fertile ground for other chemical reactions that can deplete the ozone layer. As, BC particles strongly absorb solar and terrestrial radiation and heats up the atmosphere it can also upset the monsoon system. If deposited on snow, it could accelerate the heating of snow and quicken the melting of glaciers.

Significance of Study: This is the first time that any group of climate researchers in the world has shown that black carbon from aircraft can go to the stratosphere and affect the ozone layer.

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Fact Box: Tropical Cyclone “Mora”

A deep depression in the Bay of Bengal has been declared intensified into a tropical cyclone named Mora. This is second cyclone in the Bay of Bengal after Maarutha, which helped bring in the Monsoon earlier by a week over Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The tropical Cyclone Mora is likely to hit Bangladesh coast in next 24 hours and expected to cause heavy rains in West Bengal and North East Indian states. It may also help to pull monsoon faster over mainland.

About 2017 North Indian Ocean cyclone season

Every year, the North Indian Ocean cyclone season extends roughly between April to December with two peaks in May and November. This season includes cyclones in Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea, apart from Indian Ocean in northern hemisphere. The first cyclone of 2017 season was Cyclone Maarutha which was formed in April, 2017 triggering heavy rainfall in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and India’s Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Apart from other damages, three people were killed in Myanmar by Cyclone Maarutha. Cyclone Mora is second such cyclone in the Indian Ocean.

Naming of Tropical Cyclone

Tropical cyclones are classified into three main groups, based on intensity: tropical depressions, tropical storms, and a third group of more intense storms, whose name depends on the region. If a tropical storm in the North-western Pacific reaches hurricane-strength winds on the Beaufort scale, it is referred to as a typhoon. If a tropical storm passes the same benchmark in the Northeast Pacific Basin, or in the Atlantic, it is called a hurricane. Neither “hurricane” nor “typhoon” is used in either the Southern Hemisphere or the Indian Ocean. In these basins, storms of tropical nature are referred to simply as “cyclones”.

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