Geography Current Affairs - 2020

29 June: International Day of the Tropics

Every year 29 June is observed across the world as International Day of the Tropics, to celebrate extraordinary diversity of tropics while also highlighting unique challenges and opportunities Tropical nations face.

About International Day of the Tropics

Background: On 14 June 2016, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution A/RES/70/267 which declared that henceforth each year 29 June is to be observed as International Day of the Tropics.

Why 29 June? On this day in 2014, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi launched inaugural State of Tropics Report which is the culmination of collaboration between 12 leading tropical research institutions, and offers unique perspective on Tropics, an increasingly important region. Thus to marks the anniversary of report’s launch it was proposed that June 29 be inaugurated as ‘International Day of the Tropics’.

Need: Over the years, Tropical nations have made significant progress, but face a variety of challenges which demands focused attention across a range of development indicators and data in order to achieve sustainable development for the region.

Objective: It aims to raise awareness about specific challenges faced by tropical regions across the world, far-reaching implications of issues affecting world’s tropical zone and to underline important role that topical countries will play in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Significance of day: It provides opportunity to take stock of progress across tropics, to share tropical stories and expertise. It also acknowledges diversity and potential of tropics region.

What are Tropics?

Tropics are a region of Earth, defined as area between tropic of Cancer (23°27 N) and the tropic of Capricorn (23°27 S). These regions are typically warm and experience little seasonal change in day-to-day temperature. Even local topography and other factors also contribute to climatic variation of the region.

Feature of Tropics

Its predominant feature is the prevalence of rain in moist inner regions near equator (0o), and that seasonality of rainfall increases with distance from equator.

Tropics account for 40% of world’s total surface area and are home to approximately 80% of world’s biodiversity (much of its language and cultural diversity).

Ecosystem: It hosts about 95% of world’s mangrove forests by area and 99% of mangrove species. Although since 1980, area of mangrove forest has decreased in all tropical regions.

Challenges Faced: by tropical region includes climate change, logging, deforestation, urbanisation and demographic changes.

Tropics have nearly 54% of world’s renewable water resources, yet almost half their population is considered vulnerable to water stress.

Impact Based Forecasting Approach: IMD develops technology to assess rise of water level in rivers

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has developed new technology called ‘Impact Based Forecasting Approach’ to assess rise of water level in rivers and reservoirs by rain.  It shows pre-event scenario will help state governments authorities to minutely monitor impact of rainfall and take real-time decisions. It will help to avoid disastrous situation similar to Kerala floods. It can generate scenario to help take decisions to release water or not from reservoirs after heavy downpour. It will be helpful for every state authority to take decision. This system can be run in pre-event scenario.


The heavy downpour which had ravaged Kerala in August 2018 had caused death of around 500 people and economic damages worth over Rs 40,000 crore. Excessive rainfall had led to floods in Kerala and was result of climate change. State Government had blamed IMD for lapses in its part for wrong rain forecast. IMD had forecasted estimated 98.5 mm rain in the state between 9 and 15 August, 2018 but Kerala received was 352.2 mm of rainfall resulting in severe flooding.

India Meteorological Department (IMD)

It is national meteorological service of the country and chief government agency dealing in everything related to meteorology, seismology and associated subjects. It was formed in 1875. It functions under Ministry of Earth Sciences. It is headquartered in New Delhi.


  • Undertake meteorological observations and provide current information and forecasting information for most favorable operation of weather-dependent activities such as irrigation, agriculture, aviation, shipping etc.
  • Offer warning against severe weather phenomenon such as tropical cyclones, norwesters, dust storms, heat waves, cold waves, heavy rains, heavy snow, etc.
  • Provide met-related statistics needed for agriculture, industries, water resources management, oil exploration, and any other strategically important activities for the country.
  • Engage in research in meteorology and allied subjects.
  • Detect and locate earthquakes and evaluate of seismicity in various parts of the country for developmental projects.