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Climate change has already impacted about half of Indian Ocean basin

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File photo of people wading through flood water in a Colombo suburb

Half of world’s oceans already affected by climate change

The world’s oceans have turned into a veritable sponge for our emissions, and new climate models suggest we’ve soaked them right through, said a report published by the Science Alert news service yesterday.

Since the 1950s, our planet’s vast bodies of water have absorbed roughly 93 percent of the energy entering the climate system, and while most of that heating has been observed near the ocean surface, rising temperatures are now permeating even the deepest parts, ScienceAlert reported.

The report filed from Tehran said: Real-world data on the deep ocean is hard to come by, but a new estimate, based on recent measurements and nearly a dozen climate models, suggests climate change has already impacted up to about half (20 to 55 percent) of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean basins.

What’s more, in just six decades, these human-induced changes in temperature and salinity could very well spread to 80 percent of the world’s oceans.

“We were interested in whether the levels of temperatures and salt were great enough to overcome natural variability in these deeper areas,” explains climate scientist Yona Silvy from Sorbonne University in France. “That is, if they had risen or fallen higher than they ever would during the normal peaks and troughs.”

Using temperature and salinity measurements from the deep ocean and plugging these into 11 current climate models, the team simulated ocean and atmospheric circulation over the years, with and without the contribution of human emissions.

During the second half of the 20th century, Silvy and her colleagues found human-induced warming was responsible for most observed ocean changes – “statistically” and “unambiguously” different from what would occur naturally. Because heat and salt impact ocean density and circulation, this could have widespread implications.

“This affects global ocean circulation, sea level rise, and poses a threat to human societies and ecosystems,” says Silvy.

Most of the time, heat and salt from the surface of the ocean are transported relatively slowly to the ocean’s interior, which means that many of the deepest parts experience a lag in human-induced changes.

Some deeper areas, however, circulate quicker, and thus respond faster to our emissions.

In the new model, for instance, the Southern Ocean, which is relatively well-ventilated, experienced human-induced changes quite quickly, showing up as early as the 1980s.

Meanwhile, in the Northern Hemisphere, oceans took a little longer to respond, with most changes calculated to appear sometime between 2010 and 2040.

Together, by 2020, the model shows somewhere between 20 percent and 55 percent of the world’s oceans had been altered by anthropogenic climate change.

By mid-century, these changes could make up 50 to 60 percent of the world’s oceans, and by 2080, 55 to 80 percent.

“This work suggests that a large portion of the observed change patterns in the ocean interior is human-induced and will continue to intensify with continuing CO2 emissions,” the authors write.

Plus, even if emissions are slowed, the lag in ocean circulation means we are locked in to a certain amount of change going forwards.

We still don’t fully understand the relationship between deeper changes to salt and heat and surface warming, or how these changes impact ocean circulation. It requires far more investigation, especially in the Southern Hemisphere where deep ocean data is few and far between, but investigate it we must.

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Special COVID-19 probe crippled by infections among CCD sleuths: AG calls for new police team

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Brandix Apparel Limited yesterday (29) said that the company would fully cooperate with relevant authorities in the investigation ordered by the Attorney General (AG). A spokesperson for the company said so when The Island sought a clarification with regard to AG Dappula de Livera, PC, directing the police to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged lapses on the part of the company as well as those officials leading to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

The Minuwangoda eruption, which happened in the first week of October is widely believed to be the cause of the fast expanding Peliyagoda cluster.

Asked whether the police had contacted the Brandix management as regards the investigation and sought access to Brandix management and workers at its Minuwangoda apparel manufacturing facility as well as records at the Minuwangoda facility, the spokesperson said: “We will work with the relevant authorities in this regard”.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) tasked with the probe has suffered a serious setback due to a section of its officers being tested positive for COVID-19. Authoritative sources said that the CCD lacked sufficient strength to carry out the investigation.

AG de Livera early this week told DIG Ajith Rohana that a progress report should be submitted to him by or before Nov. 13.

Sources said that the badly depleted CCD was not in a position to conduct the high-profile investigation, in addition to other ongoing inquiries. The AG has directed the Acting IGP to constitute a special team of law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation. Sources acknowledged the urgent need for a thorough inquiry into the far worse second corona wave. Sources said that the AG issued fresh instructions in that regard after the crisis in the CCD was brought to his notice.

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Most garment workers under self-quarantine left to fend for themselves

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A large number of garment workers who were undergoing self-quarantine in Minuwangoda did not receive any assistance, Chamila Thushari of the Dabindu Collective, a labour organisation that works with garment workers, told The Island yesterday.

She said that those who were under self-quarantine did not have money to purchase food and even those who were willing to help could not reach them.

“Some of them have received food parcels from their work places but that is not adequate. Most others have not received any assistance. Matters will only get worse after curfew is imposed throughout the Western Province,” Thushari said.

Most of these workers are undergoing self-quarantine at their boarding places, which also house individuals who still work in garment factories. “Although there is a curfew, they can go to work. These are perfect incubators for the virus,” she said.

Thushari said that every day between 20-30 workers under self-quarantine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There were no public health inspectors to monitor the boarding houses of garment workers to ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures were being followed, she said.

“Not even Grama Niladaris visit them,” Chamila said.

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SJB requests separate seats for its dissidents

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Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to make arrangements to provide separate seats to the nine MPs who had voted with the government for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution recently.

The letter dated yesterday said that the SJB parliamentary group had decided to expel MPs Diana Gamage, A. Aravind Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faisal Cassim, H. M. M. Haris, M.S. Thowfeeq, Nazeer Ahmed, A.A.S.M. Raheem and S.M.M. Musharaf and it requests the Speaker to make separate seating arrangements for these MPs in the Chamber.

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