Environment & Biodiversity Current Affairs - 2019
Latest Environment Current Affairs 2019 for UPSC Exams, Bank Exams, Civil Services, SSC and other Competitive Exams. Latest developments in Environment and Climate Change 2019 all important national updates in Environment events for the year 2019.
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The National Geographic Society (NGS), a US based non-profit scientific and educational organizations announced successful installation of world’s highest operating weather stations on Mount Everest. This installation was part of National Geographic and Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Everest.
Climate scientists and the multi-disciplinary team created the history by installing world’s highest operating weather station at Mount Everest’s Death Zone, some other automated stations on other parts of the mountain.
Station Locations: These world’s two highest operating automated weather stations (a 7-foot- building) were installed at Balcony area (8,430 m) and South Col (7,945 m)that can withstand extreme winds and cold weather. Three other weather stations were also placed on Mount Everest at Camp II (6,464 m), Everest Base Camp(5,315 m) and Phortse (3,810 m).
Balcony area weather station is first weather station installed at elevation of more than 8,000 metres thus it will also be 1st to sample stratosphere. It is significant as natural variations in atmospheric boundaries change over time.
Functions: It will provide researchers, climbers, and public with near real-time information about mountain conditions. Each weather station will record data on temperature, relative humidity (amount of water vapour present in air), barometric pressure, wind speed, as well as wind direction. They will also give scientists direct observations to understand jet stream, and will help them understand how the Himalayas are getting affected by climate change. Data so collected from these weather stations will help communities respond to climate risks that threaten lives and livelihoods of more than 1 billion people in region.
Significance: The stations installation is aimed at breaking new grounds in monitoring and understanding of climate change as they will help continuously monitor upper reaches of atmosphere (such as stratosphere), which is critical to tracking and predicting weather patterns around the world.
National Geographic and Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Everest
It was multipurpose scientific expedition held from April to June 2019. It was most comprehensive single scientific expedition to mountain in history. It included International team of scientists, climbers and story-tellers, led by researchers from National Geographic Society (NGS) and Tribhuvan University in Nepal and supported in partnership with Rolex.
The series of experiments that were part of expedition included collecting ice core samples (at 8020 metres) from highest point ever and performing a helicopter-based LIDAR scan from most extreme height ever accomplished.
Tags: Balcony area • Climate Change • Everest Base Camp • LIDAR • Mount Everest • National Geographic and Rolex's Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Everest • National Geographic Society • ount Everest's Death Zone • Tribhuvan University • Weather Stations • World’s Highest Operating Weather Stations
A team of scientists from Delhi University (DU) and Wildlife Institute of India (an autonomous institution under Union Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate change), in collaboration with researchers from the United States and Indonesia, have discovered a new species of ‘Paddy Frog’ from Northeast India, primarily in Assam.
- The first known species of genus Micryletta was originally described from island of Sumatra (in Indonesia). As of now, there are only 4 recognised species in this group and newly discovered Micryletta aishani becomes the 5th.
- Nomenclature: The newly discovered species has been named Aishani, which is derived from Sanskrit word ‘aishani’ or aisani meaning Northeast.
- Scientists Involved: The study was conducted by Sonali Garg and S D Biju (of DU), Abhijit Das (of Wildlife Institute of India) Eric N Smith (from University of Texas, US) and Amir Hamidy (from Indonesian Institute of Sciences). Their study was published in PeerJ, a peer-reviewed journal.
- Key Findings
- The DNA samples analysed of this species suggested that other undescribed species belonging to this genus could be existing in regions such as Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
- Features: The frog belongs to genus Micryletta, (a small genus of microhylid frogs). The microhylid genus is a group of narrow-mouthed frogs that are more commonly known as paddy frogs and are primarily and widely distributed in Southeast Asia (SEA).
- Characteristics: This new species strikingly differs from other narrow-mouthed paddy frogs. Its characteristics includes- its back is reddish-brown in colour, on lateral sides it has prominent dark streaks and ash-grey mottling, shape of snout (nose and mouth) is unique, and web on its feet is absent.
- Habitat: Micryletta aishani is currently endemic to Northeast India but it could be present in neighbouring regions of Bangladesh and Myanmar also. The species was discovered from a degraded forest area in Cachar district of Assam but as per the study says it is also present in Tripura and Manipur.
- Also, it is likely to be more widely distributed in Northeast India, particularly Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot region (that lies south of Brahmaputra River).
- To the surprise of researchers the new species is not found far from human habitations.
- Way Ahead: But despite new discoveries, the actual number of frog species in Northeast India is much higher than the current estimates.
Tags: Aishani • Delhi University • genus Micryletta • Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot • Micryletta aishani • New Frog Species in Assam • PeerJ • Union Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate change • Wildlife Institute of India