Current Affairs for OAS Prelims 2018: Environment & Ecology- May 2018

Giant Tsunami waves

1. Banned Ozone-destroying chemical emission rising: Emissions of one of the chemicals most responsible for the Antarctic ozone hole are on the rise, despite an international treaty that required an end to its production in 2010, a new NOAA study shows. Trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, is the second-most abundant ozone-depleting gas in the atmosphere and a member of the family of chemicals most responsible for the giant hole in the ozone layer that forms over Antarctica each September. Once widely used as a foaming agent, production of CFC-11 was phased out by the Montreal Protocol in 2010.

The new study, published in Nature, documents an unexpected increase in emissions of this gas, likely from new, unreported production. CFCs were once widely used in the manufacture of aerosol sprays, as blowing agents for foams and packing materials, as solvents, and as refrigerants. Though production of CFCs was phased out by the Montreal Protocol, a large reservoir of CFC-11 exists today primarily contained in foam insulation in buildings, and appliances manufactured before the mid-1990s. A smaller amount of CFC-11 also exists today in chillers.

The Montreal Protocol has been effective in reducing ozone-depleting gases in the atmosphere because all countries in the world agreed to legally binding controls on the production of most human-produced gases known to destroy ozone. Under the treaty’s requirements, nations have reported less than 500 tons of new CFC-11 production per year since 2010. CFC-11 concentrations have declined by 15 percent from peak levels measured in 1993 as a result. Source: Science Daily

2. MNRE issues National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has issued National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy here today. The objective of the policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid system for efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land. It also aims at reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability. On technology front the Policy provides for integration of both the energy sources i.e. wind and solar at AC as well as DC level. The Policy also provides for flexibility in share of wind and solar components in hybrid project, subject to the condition that, rated power capacity of one resource be at least 25 per cent of the rated power capacity of other resource for it to be recognised hybrid project. The Policy seeks to promote new hybrid projects as well as hybridisation of existing wind/solar projects. The existing wind/solar projects can be hybridised with higher transmission capacity than the sanctioned one, subject to availability of margin in the existing transmission capacity.

The Policy provides for procurement of power from a hybrid project on tariff based transparent bidding process for which Government entities may invite bids. Policy also permits use of battery storage in the hybrid project for optimising the output and further reduce the variability. It mandates the regulatory authorities to formulate necessary standards and regulations for wind-solar hybrid systems. With significant capacity additions in renewables in recent years and with Hybrid Policy aiming at better utilisation of resources, it is envisaged that the Hybrid Policy will open-up a new area for availability of renewable power at competitive prices along with reduced variability. A scheme for new hybrid projects under the policy is also expected shortly. Source: PIB

3. India develops model to predict Tsunami Waves: The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has developed a a model to predict how far sea water can travel after it violated its natural boundaries, thus allowing predictions of how far a tsunami could travel inland. The model would be able to allow the government and emergency services reduce destruction of lives and property caused by tsunami waves. The new system would act as a Level-3 warning system under India’s Tsunami Early Warning System which was set up following the deadly 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Level-1 tracks the magnitude of a tsunami and while Level-2 predicts the potential wave height.

The 2004 tsunami was triggered by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the Indonesian coast near Banda Aceh that claimed over 200,000 lives in South Asia with waves travelling as far as Kenya and Nairobi in Eastern Africa. Waves measuring heights of over 30 metres were reported to hit coast at several locations. The new model will be able to give out location-specific alerts. The INCOIS had last month issued warnings after high-energy waves were reported following cyclonic activity in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Africa that hit the Indian coast.

The services will likely be available by the year-end. However, in order for India to be effectively use the data to assist other nations as it did during the 2004 tsunami, it would need to do a detailed topographical study of their coastal areas which is being developed under the Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning System (RIMES). The RIMES council consists of heads of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and national scientific and technical agencies in the region and is currently being chaired by India. Source: The New Indian Express

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