Daily Current Affairs (MCQ's) | 20-03-2023
Daily Current Affairs (MCQ's) | 20-03-2023
Q1. Consider the following statements
1. Atmospheric rivers are vast airborne corridors of water vapour flowing from Earth’s tropics toward higher latitudes
2. The atmospheric river events show peak activity in mid-latitude oceans
3. The scientists have detected an increase in atmospheric river frequency during strong El Nino years.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a. 1 and 2 only
b. 2 and 3 only
c. 1 and 3 only
d. 1, 2 and 3
Atmospheric rivers – vast airborne corridors of water vapor flowing from
Earth’s tropics toward higher latitudes – can steer much-needed rain to parched lands. But in extreme form, they can also cause destruction and loss of life, as recently occurred in parts of California. Their effects, both hazardous and beneficial, are felt globally.
A new study using NASA data shows that a recently developed rating system can provide a consistent global benchmark for tracking these “rivers in the sky.” Research into atmospheric rivers has largely focused on the west coasts of North America and Europe. The new findings help expand our understanding of how these storms arise, evolve, and impact communities all over the world. In addition, the ratings could help meteorologists better warn people to plan for them.
The findings also revealed an increasing number of atmospheric river events around the world and across all ranks, with peak activity in mid- latitude oceans (temperate belts roughly between 30 and 60 degrees north and south).
To help forecast the potential strength and impacts of the storms as they make landfall on the West Coast of North America, meteorologists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, along with the National Weather Service, introduced an atmospheric river (AR) scale in 2019. By ranking them from 1 to 5, or weakest to strongest, the scientists sought to differentiate between primarily beneficial storms versus primarily hazardous ones. By one estimate, insured losses due to flood damages increase by a factor of 10 with every step up in rank, with AR 5 events linked to a median damage amount of $260 million in the Western U.S.
Shaping The Water Cycle
Although the term “atmospheric river” was only coined in 1994, the storms’ impacts were felt well before then. Scientists have estimated some 300 million people worldwide are at risk for flooding due to atmospheric rivers which, on average, transport quantities of water vapor more than double the flow of the Amazon River. A growing body of research is exploring how these storms play a critical role in shaping the global water cycle from the Andes to the Arctic, where moisture from atmospheric rivers has recently been found to melt and slow the seasonal recovery of sea ice.
In the new study, scientists built a database of global atmospheric river events from 1980 to 2020, using a computer algorithm to automatically identify tens of thousands of the events in the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), a NASA re- analysis of historical atmospheric observations. To rank the events, the study authors then applied the atmospheric river scale, which is based on a storm’s expected duration and maximum rate of water vapor transport.
Across the 40 years studied, higher-ranked storms lasted longer and traveled farther than lower-ranked storms. Mean travel distance was found to be about 400 miles (650 kilometers) with AR 1 and about 2,900 miles (4,700 kilometers) with AR 5, while mean lifetime was about 17 hours for AR 1 and 110 hours for AR 5. Higher-ranked storms (AR 4 and AR 5) were less common and tended to begin their life cycle closer to the tropics while ending in colder, higher-latitude regions.
Additionally, the scientists detected an increase in atmospheric river frequency during strong El Niño years.
Q2. Which of the following is the reason for higher levels of radiation in Kerala?
a. Various nuclear reactors nearby
b. Monazite sand
c. Docking of nuclear submarines in state ports
d. Rampant uranium mining in the state
Background Radiation Higher In Kerala, But No Risk: study
In parts of Kerala, background radiation levels, or that emitted from natural sources such as rocks, sand or mountains, are nearly three times more than what’s been assumed, a pan-India study by scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has found. This does not, however, translate to an elevated health risk.
Radiation results from the disintegrating nucleus of an unstable element and these can be from anywhere, including from inside our bodies to the constituents of matter.
Gamma rays are a kind of radiation that can pass unobstructed through matter. Though extremely energetic, they are harmless unless present in large concentrated doses. It’s similar to heat from a fire feeling pleasant until a sustained, concentrated burst can scald or worse, ignite.
Especially around nuclear plants, gamma radiation levels are monitored as also the average quantity of radiation that plant workers are exposed to.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) specifies maximum radiation exposure levels and this has also been adopted by India’s atomic energy establishment.
Public exposure should not exceed 1 milli-Sievert every year, those who work in plants or are by virtue of their occupation shouldn’t be exposed to over 30 milli-Sievert every year.
The present study found that average natural background levels of gamma radiation in India was 94 nGy/hr (nano Gray per hour) (or roughly 0.8 milli sievert/year). The last such study, conducted in 1986, computed such radiation to be 89 nGy/hr. 1 Gray is equivalent to 1 Sievert, though one unit refers to radiation emitted and the other to biological exposure.
However, the 1986 study measured the highest radiation exposure at Chavara, Kerala at 3,002 nGy/year. The present study found that the levels in Kollam district (where Chavara is situated) were 9,562 nGy/hr, or about three times more. This computes to about 70 milliGray a year, or a little more than what a worker in a nuclear plant is exposed to.
“This doesn’t mean that those at Kollam are being exposed to higher, dangerous levels of radiation. There have been extensive studies in the past that have checked for higher rates of cancer or mortality and nothing out of the ordinary has been found,” Dinesh Aswal, senior scientist at the BARC and among the authors of the study, told The Hindu.
The higher radiation levels in Kollam are attributed to monazite sands that are high in thorium, and this for many years, is part of India’s long- term plan to sustainably produce nuclear fuel. In southern India, because of the presence of granite and basaltic, volcanic rock has higher levels of radiation from uranium deposits.
Q3. Pennaiyar or Thenpennai river dispute is between
a. Odisha and Andhra Pradesh
b. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
c. Tamil Nadu and Kerala
d. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
The South Pennar River (also known as Dakshina Pinakini in Kannada and Thenpennai or Ponnaiyar or Pennaiyar in Tamil) is a river in India. Bangalore, Hosur, Tiruvannamalai, and Cuddalore are the important cities on the banks of South Pennar river.
Wait Continues In T.N. For Centre’s Pennaiyar Tribunal
• With the time limit fixed by the Supreme Court for the constitution of an inter-State river water disputes tribunal for Pennaiyar river getting expired in march, Tamil Nadu is waiting for the Centre’s next course of action.
• In mid-December, the court gave the Centre three months to constitute the tribunal to resolve the dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over constructions across the river. In 2018, Tamil Nadu filed an original suit against Karnataka constructing check- dams and diversionary structures on the river.
• The direction came after the Centre had stated that Tamil Nadu’s complaint was referred to a Negotiation Committee, and there was “no likelihood of settlement by negotiation”. The Union government had also submitted that it was “likely to constitute a tribunal to resolve the dispute between the two States”.
• On November 30, 2019, Tamil Nadu formally requested the Union government to constitute a tribunal for adjudication of disputes over the waters of the river, also known as ‘Thenpennai’.
• In its complaint, Tamil Nadu objected to the construction of a check- dam across the Markandeya, a tributary of the Pennaiyar, by Karnataka.
• According to those following the case in court, the matter, which was originally listed for March 14, did not come up that day. There is an expectation that it may be heard on March 21.
Q4. Which of the following countries is NOT a G20 Member?
Japan PM Kishida to visit India today; G-7, G-20, Indo-Pacific ties on agenda
• Synchronising plans for the G-7 summit in Hiroshima in May and the G-20 summit in Delhi in September will be on the agenda for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s 24-hour visit to Delhi, a senior Japanese official said.
• The G7 is an informal grouping of seven of the world's advanced economies, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union.
Q5. Consider the following statements about Lantana Camara
1. It is an invasive species of American origin
2. It arrived in India as an ornamental plant
Which of the above is/are correct?
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
1. A recent study found Lantana Camara, a tropical American shrub, has invaded more than 40 per cent of India’s tiger range. The Shivalik hills, Central India, and Southern Western Ghats are the worst hit.
2. With the ability to adapt to the changing climate, lantana can tolerate high temperature and moisture. The species now threatens about 300,000 sq. km of Indian forests.
3. Scientists highlight the urgent need for habitat-oriented management, biodiversity monitoring, and restoration oriented studies to safeguard forests.
While India talks about the impacts of developmental projects on biodiversity, an exotic plant with pretty flowers has diligently carved its way to degrade its forests. This plant, Lantana Camara, is a thicket forming shrub native to tropical America.
Arriving in India as an ornamental plant in the early 1800s, lantana has escaped from gardens and taken over entire ecosystems, now occupying 40 per cent of India’s tiger range alone.
Multiple hybrid varieties of lantana were brought to India and over the 200 years of its introduction, the varieties have hybridized and formed a complex. The species is now able to climb up the canopy as a woody vine, entangle other plants by forming a dense thicket, and spread on the forest floor as a scrambling shrub.