Current Affairs - January, 2019

Latest Current Affairs January, 2019 with Current Affairs, news summary on current events of National and International importance of January, 2019 for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS, Railways and other Competitive Examinations.

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International Year of the Period Table of Chemical Elements

UNESCO has declared 2019 as the International Year of the Period Table of Chemical Elements to commemorate the 150th birthday of the periodic table of chemical elements. The Periodic table of the Chemical elements was first published by Russian scientist Dmitry Mendeleev in the year 1869.

What is this Periodic Table of Chemical Elements?

The Periodic Table of Chemical Elements is the tabular arrangement of the chemical elements, arranged by atomic number, electron configuration, and recurring chemical properties. The important features of the periodic table are:

  • The seven rows of the table are called as periods and generally accommodate metals on the left and non-metals on the right.
  • The columns of the table are called groups and contain elements with similar chemical behaviours.
  • The elements from atomic numbers 1 (hydrogen) to 118 (oganesson) have been discovered in nature or synthesized in laboratories.
  • The first 98 elements listed in the periodic table occur naturally, though some are found only in trace amounts and a few were discovered in nature only after having first been synthesized.
  • Elements from 99 to 118 have only been synthesized in laboratories or nuclear reactors.
  • Efforts are on to elements having higher atomic numbers these elements would begin the eighth row, and theoretical work has been done to suggest possible candidates for this extension.

To celebrate the International Year of the Period Table of Chemical Elements the UNESCO would be organising events like online competition to test high school students’ knowledge of the table, and scientific experiments brought to schools around the world.

Impact of global warming on El-Nino

El-Nino disturbs the atmospheric conditions across the world. El-Nino occurs every two-to-seven years with very strong El Niño’s occurring about every 15 years results in droughts, floods, wildfires, dust and snow storms, fish kill, and even elevated risks of civil conflicts.

The El-Nino is measured by studying the averages sea surface temperature anomalies over the central-eastern tropical Pacific. A study which analyses the impact of global warming on El-Nino has been published in the journal Nature in December 2018.

Findings of the Study

The important findings of the study are:

  • The study serves a warning to the countries on all continents that suffer from these extreme weather events during strong El Niño events such as the ones during 1982-83, 1997-98 and 2015-16.
  • The study notes that eagerly-awaited winter rain and snow storms over California did not occur during the latest extreme El Nino. Hence it is unclear whether global warming is already affecting El Nino and its remote impacts.
  • The study argues that it is unclear if the impact of global warming on El Nino can easily be extracted considering its intrinsic tendencies and its dependency on so many factors that are not easily predictable.

The study concludes that various models to study El-Nino deliver a slightly different rendition of El Niño compared to nature. Hence it is imperative that models be held to very stringent standards on their performance of El Niño behaviour during historic periods, especially the 20th century, as a test of their reliability for future projections. As a result it is difficult to conclude how reliably the models can project El Niño response to global warming in addition to how the models perform in reproducing floods and droughts of 20th century.