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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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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

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Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

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By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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