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Arctic sea ice is melting faster than ever: Study

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A recent study from the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) in Goa has pointed out that Arctic sea ice is melting at an alarming rate, especially during the boreal or northern hemisphere summer.

The study, published in the journal Heliyon, highlighted the increasing decline of the Arctic sea ice due to climate change. It reported that September sea ice declined to its lowest extent of 4.71 million square kilometeres in 2018, its lowest in the past four decades.

The study to measure the extent of Arctic sea ice loss was led by Avinash Kumar and his team of scientists comprising Juhi Yadav and Rahul Mohan from NCPOR.

“The minimum extent of seasonal sea ice for 2018 was recorded between September 19 and 23. Prior to September 19, 2018, sea ice extent had declined at a rate of nearly 14,000 square kilometres per day that was significantly faster than in most previous years,” Kumar observed.

The study also showed that the September of 2018 was the third warmest on record, with temperature differences of the air above the Arctic Ocean (~3.5°C) to be slightly higher than that of the Arctic land (~2.8°C).

The decline in sea ice can lead to accelerated global warming and climate changes. “The faster loss of sea-ice for the whole Arctic Ocean during September demonstrates that there are substantial variations in surface air temperature and there is a correspondence between the fluctuations in surface air temperature in the Arctic and global regions,” Kumar added.

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe, a phenomenon known as arctic amplification. Arctic sea ice loss is attributed to several factors such as rising global temperatures. The study suggests that due to more open seas in winters, the growth of sea ice is delayed, leading to disproportionate loss of sea ice occurring during summer.

For the study, researchers obtained data of Arctic ice extent, thickness, and volume from 1979-2018 from globally-available satellite data and applied modelling techniques. They also studied its correlations with atmospheric and surface temperatures and sea pressure.

As a result, they were able to see how ice in the Arctic region has changed over the last four decades. It also helped them to predict the possible sea ice scenario in the coming years. The group is now planning to expand their work to study how sea ice melting and intrusion of warm ocean waters are related. (India Science Wire)

 



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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?

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… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.

 

 

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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others

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The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.

 

 

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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area

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Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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