Oceans Current Affairs - 2020

Antarctica recorded the hottest temperature of 20.75 degrees Celsius

The World Meteorological Organization announced that for the first time in record Antarctica has recorded its hottest temperature ever, 20.75 Degree Celsius. So far, the highest was 18.3 Degrees Celsius that was recorded in January 1982.

Highlights

The higher temperatures were influenced by shifts in El Nino and Ocean Currents. According to United Nations scientists, the Antarctic region stores more than 70% of world’s fresh water. If it melts, the sea level will increase by 50 to 60 metres.

Significance of Ice Sheet in Antarctica

The ice sheet in Antarctica covers 14 million square kilometres. To the east of Antarctica there lies land masses under the ice sheets. However, on the west Antarctica the ice beds can extend to more than 2500 metres under the sea.

The Arctic and Antarctic Ice sheets are important as they reflect 80% to 90% of solar radiation. On the other hand, the other dark surfaced landforms reflect less solar radiation and retain great amount of heat.

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India attended the Madrid Climate Conference

The Minister of Environment Shri Prakash Javadekar represented India at the Madrid Climate Conference. The United Nations Climate Change Conference is being held in Madrid between 2nd December, 2019 and 13th December 2019.

The COP25 (25th Conference of Parties) was to be held in Chile. However, Chile government cancelled COP25 due to the protests that are plaguing the country. Following its cancellation, Spain offered to organize the event.

Highlights

The Conference insisted the member countries to enhance their NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) in the coming 12 months till COP26. A yearbook was launched that called on the governments to strengthen the UNFCCC agenda post 2020. It also insisted to create actions for a climate resilient world between 2020 and 2050.

Report on Oceans

The conference also released report on oceans titled “Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate” (SPROCC). According to the report, global mean sea level increased from 1.4 mm (1901-1990) to 3.6 mm (2006-2015). Also, the report says that the ocean warming has increased since 1993. Between 1993 and 2017, 700 to 2000 metres of ocean layers have warmed up.

Nairobi Work Programme

The Nairobi Work Programme was reviewed and its progress were discussed at the conference. The Programme was established in 2005 at COP11. It aims at impacts, adaptation and vulnerability to climate change.

The objective of the programme is to assist least developed countries to understand and assess impacts of climate change.

The Global Climate Risk Index 2020 was published at the conference

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