In some good news this fortnight, the southern jet stream – a powerful wind that determines the western hemisphere’s weather patterns and ocean currents – seems to be returning to its normal trajectory as opposed to moving southwards as it has been since 2000.
A new study published in the journal Nature put this down to the global cooperation on ozone-depleting chemicals. They are hopeful that this finding would mean there is still some hope to reverse some of the damage done to climate systems, but only if governments ensure prompt and unified action.
Earth’s deepest ice canyon vulnerable to melting, study finds
The Denman Canyon in East Antarctic, which is the deepest land gorge on Earth and is filled with ice, is vulnerable to melting, a new NASA report found. The report stated that retreating and thinning areas of the glacier suggest an erosion by warm ocean water. This is significant because if the Denman Canyon were to melt completely, it would raise the global sea surface by 1.5m.
While on the topic of melting ice, another study linked climate change with rapid permafrost degradation in the western Russian Arctic. The study, which focused on seven sites in the region, observed an increase in both air temperatures and ground temperatures since 1970 as well as increased precipitation leading to a lowering of the permafrost table, by up to 8m.
Bihar to use drones to monitor its embankments during monsoon
In a move aimed towards swift action in case of a flood, the Indian state of Bihar will use drones to monitor embankments during the monsoon season. A detailed proposal will be made soon as the Bihar government wishes to start the process this year itself. Officials said 12 drones are to be deployed in phase 1 of the programme.
NASA releases 3-D view of methane as it travels from sources into atmosphere
Methane is the second-largest contributor to greenhouse warming, NASA’s new 3-dimensional portrait of the gas has confirmed. The map also reveals the diverse sources of the gas on the ground and its behaviour as it moves through the atmosphere. NASA said it was important to trace the movement of the gas to mitigate emissions where it is possible.