Emperor-Penguin-IASToppers
Current Affairs Analysis

12th October 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Emperor Penguin; Bennett's wallaby; Invasive weed species of Adilabad; Who are the Kurds? Syrian conflict; Gangetic Dolphins; India carpet expo; Carpet Export Promotion Council (CPEC); Carpet Industry in India; Carpet Clusters of India; Hindu-Kush-Himalayan (HKH) Region; Third Pole and Climate Change; The Third Pole Environment (TPE); Model Code of Conduct (MCC); Kanyashree scheme; Conditional cash transfer (CCT); Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite (ICON); Earths atmospheric layers; What is elastocaloric effect? Elastocaloric Refrigeration; Montreal Protocol; Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs); etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
October 12, 2019

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • EC bars parties from releasing manifestos in last 48 hours before polling

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Initiative to set up Kanyashree Univ to empower girls: Mamata

Economy

  • CEPC organizing 38th India Carpet Expo in Varanasi

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • India to work with China, Pakistan to gauge impact of climate change
  • Invasive weeds threatening tiger habitats in Adilabad
  • Annual Ganges river dolphin census begins
  • Spy in the Snow review: Winter wonderland

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Turkey begins offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria

Science & Technology

  • NASA launches satellite to explore where air meets space
  • Twist-based refrigeration: Twisting and coiling ‘twistocaloric’ yarns to keep cool

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Polity & Governance

EC bars parties from releasing manifestos in last 48 hours before polling

The Election Commission of India (ECI) barred political parties from releasing election manifestos in the last 48 hours before polling.

EC-bars-parties-from-releasing-manifestos

About the new order from ECI

  • Currently, there is no rule on timing of release of political manifestos. Hence, ECI amended the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) (a set of rules to be followed by parties after elections are announced) barring parties from releasing election manifestos in the last 48 hours before polling.

EC-bars-parties-from-releasing-manifestos-1

  • The amended model code states: In case of single (or multi) phase election, manifesto shall not be released during the prohibitory period, as prescribed under Section 126 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act 1951’.
  • Section 126 of the RP act prohibits any form of election campaign in the last 48 hours leading up to voting.

What is manifesto?

  • A political manifesto is a publication issued by a political party before a General Election. It contains the set of policies that the party stands for and would wish to implement if elected to govern.

Criticism of Election manifesto in India

  • Election manifesto are frequently delayed, leaving no time for voters to go through the contents in order to make informed choices.
  • Moreover, this manifesto does not have significant effect as voting in most of India are influenced largely by tribal instincts and loyalties to communities or individuals.
  • The political parties often exaggerate their election promises in erratic manner, and most are criticised for departing from their manifestos after coming to power. This is because election manifestos are not legally enforceable documents.

About Model Code of Conduct (MCC)

  • Model Code of Conduct are the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, election manifestos, processions and general conduct.

Model-Code-of-Conduct-1

  • The aim of these Model Code of Conduct is to ensure free and fair elections.
  • The Commission issued the code for the first time in 1971 (5th Election) and revised it from time to time.
  • The Model Code of Conduct comes into force immediately on announcement of the election schedule by the commission. The Code remains in force till the end of the electoral process.
  • The code does not have any specific statutory basis. It has only a persuasive effect. It only has what is known as “rules of electoral morality”.

Guidelines 

In S Subramaniam Balaji vs Govt. of Tamil Nadu and Others (2013), court ruled that the distribution of freebies of any kind influences all people. As a result, on order of supreme court, in 2013, the Election Commission added guidelines on election manifestos in the Model Code of Conduct (MCC):

Additions to Model Code

  • The election manifesto shall not contain anything repugnant to the principles enshrined in the Constitution and should be consistent with provisions of Model Code of Conduct.
  • The Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution enjoin upon the State to frame various welfare measures for the citizens and therefore there can be no objection to the promise of such welfare measures in election manifestos. However, political parties should avoid making those promises which are likely to vitiate the purity of the election process or exert undue influence on the voters in exercising their franchise.
  • Manifestos should also include the rationale for the promises they make and broadly indicate the ways to meet the financial requirements for it.
  • In case of single (multi)-phase election, manifesto shall not be released during the prohibitory period, as prescribed under Section 126 of The Representation of the People Act, 1951.
[Ref: Indian Express, Economic Times]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

Initiative to set up Kanyashree Univ to empower girls: Mamata

Aiming to empower girls, the West Bengal government has taken the initiative to set up a Kanyashree University, only for women, in Nadia district and Kanyashree colleges across the state.

Kanyashree-Univ-to-empower-girls-2

About Kanyashree scheme

  • It is a scheme of West Bengal government.
  • Launched in 2011, it seeks to improve the wellbeing of girls, specifically those from socio-economically disadvantages It aims to ensure that girls stay in school and delay their marriages till at least age.
  • West Bengal government has been awarded by the United Nations for Public Service for its Kanyashree scheme in 2017.
  • The scheme use Condiational Cash Transfers that has shown a high degree of success in transforming the lives in several countries.

It has two cash transfer components:

  1. Annual incentive to be paid to the girls of age 13 to 18 who are studying in Class 8 or above till they continue their education, provided they are unmarried at the time.
  2. One-Time grant to be paid after a girl turns 18, provided they are engaged in the academic pursuit and unmarried.

Eligibility

  • Residents of West Bengal
  • Regularly attending an educational institution
  • Unmarried
  • From families where the total income is not more than Rs. 1,20,000 per year

Need

  • Under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (PCMA), 18 is the legal age of marriage for girls, and 21 for boys in India.
  • Despite several years of this Act being in existence, the early marriage of children continues to be practiced in West Bengal.
  • According to DLHS -3, 2007-08, the state ranked fifth highest in India when it came to the prevalence of child marriage, with almost every second girl a child bride (54.7%).

What is Conditional cash transfer?

  • Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs aim to reduce poverty by making welfare programs conditional upon the receivers’ actions.
  • It gives money to households on the condition that they comply with certain pre-defined requirements.
  • These conditions can include, for example, up-to-date vaccinations, regular visits to a health care facility, regular school attendance by children, and complying with health and nutrition promotion activities.

Key Facts

  • International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations; on October 11, every year since 2012.
[Ref: Business Standard, India Today]

 

Economy

CEPC organizing 38th India Carpet Expo in Varanasi

To promote the cultural heritage and weaving skills of Indian handmade carpets, Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) is organizing 38th India Carpet Expo in Varanasi.

38th-India-Carpet-Expo-in-Varanasi-2

About India carpet expo

  • India carpet expo is a platform for international carpet buyers and Indian carpet manufacturers/exporters to establish business relationship.

38th-India-Carpet-Expo-in-Varanasi

  • The Expo is organized twice a year in Varanasi and Delhi.

About carpet export promotion council (CPEC)

About-carpet-export-promotion-council-(CPEC)

  • CEPC, a non-profit making organization, was setup in 1982 by the Ministry of Textiles to promote export of Handmade Knotted Carpets, Rugs, Floor Coverings & other allied Products from India.

Carpet Industry in India

  • Indian Handmade Carpet Industry is ranked No. 1 in the international market.
  • India is possessing market share of around 35% of total world import of Handmade Carpets.
  • Indian Handmade Carpet Industry is Highly Labour Intensive and provides employment to over 20 Lakhs workers/ artisans especially women directly or indirectly in the rural areas.
  • Most of the artisans/ weavers employed are from the weaker section of the Society and this trade provides extra and alternate occupation to them including farmers and others at their homes.
  • India is exporting its carpet to more than 70 countries in the world, mainly to the USA (48%), and Europe (27 %).

Carpet Clusters of India

Carpet Clusters of India

Carpet clusters of India are: Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh (Bhadohi, Mirzapur, and Agra), 7 sisters of North East India.

In Rajasthan – Jaipur, Ajmer, Jodhpur are famous for the handwoven dhurries.

Types of carpets

Carpets are classified based on i) Fibers ii) Method and iii) Design.

Based on Fiber

  • Silk Carpets
  • Wool Carpets
  • Wool-Silk Carpets
  • Polyester Viscose Carpets
  • Other Fibre Carpets

Based on Method

Indian Handknotted Carpets

  • This technique was brought by Mughals. Initially the patterns were Turkish and Persian but later got Indianised. The techniques and patterns were to a large extent adapted by the Kashmiri art.

Indian Handwoven Carpets

  • It is a broad category which includes hand knotted carpets as well as flat weave carpets. Knotted carpets include the traditional Persian carpets. The quality of hand woven carpets can be judge by tightness of the weaves and density of the knots.

Indian Handtufted Carpets

  • In this technique, the carpets have their pile injected a backing material with the help of tufting gun, which is itself bonded to a secondary backing cloth with the use of latex solution to provide stability. Then third backing cloth is used with and finishing is carried out.

Based on Design

  • Various Designs of carpet are Indo-Kashan Carpets, Indo-Kashmar Carpets, Indo-Mir Carpets, Indo-Tibetian Carpets, Indo-Oushak Carpets etc.

Background

  • The origin of carpet weaving traditions in India goes to the medieval period. The Mughals borrowed the Persian technique of carpet weaving. Mughal carpets were as elaborate as their miniature paintings and illustrated court life, animals and floral motifs.
  • Akbar is said to have laid the foundation of carpet weaving tradition in India by bringing some carpet weavers from Persia. Soon carpet weavings centers were established at Agra, Delhi and Lahore.
[Ref: The Hindu, India Today]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

India to work with China, Pakistan to gauge impact of climate change

To better gauge the impact of climate change on the Hindu Kush mountains, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) will collaborate with meteorological agencies in China and Pakistan to provide climate forecast services to countries in the region.

India-to-work-with-China-Pakistan-to-gauge-impact-of-climate-change (1)

About Hindu-Kush-Himalayan (HKH) Region

Third-Pole-3

  • The Hindu-Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region is considered as the third Pole of world after the North and South Poles.
  • Located to the south of China and the north of India, it spans Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • It contains vast cryospheric zones. It has the world’s highest amount of snow and ice outside the polar region.
  • The Third Pole contains the world’s highest mountains, including all 14 peaks above 8,000 metres, and is the source of 10 major Asian rivers.
  • It encompasses tropical valleys, mountain forests, alpine meadows to high altitude grasslands and wetlands as well as arid steppes.

Diversity and Significance of Third pole

Third-Pole--2

Third-Pole-4

  • The Third Pole region has enormous socioeconomic and cultural diversity. It is home to many different ethnic communities speaking more than 600 languages and many more dialects.
  • It is endowed with rich natural resources and contains all or part of four global biodiversity hotspots.
  • The mountain resources provide a wide range of ecosystem services and the basis for the livelihoods to the 210 million people living in the region, as well as indirectly to the one fifth of the worlds’ population living in the downstream river basins.
  • More than 3 billion people benefit from the food and energy produced in these river basins that have their origin in the mountains.

The Third Pole and Climate Change

  • Third Pole region is home to some of the people most vulnerable to these changes in the world. Changes in the river systems and their basins have impacted directly on the wellbeing of millions of people.

    Third-Pole-1

  • The rate of warming (by 1.5 degrees) in the Third Pole region is significantly higher than the global average, and the rate is higher at higher altitude, suggesting a greater vulnerability of the cryosphere environment to climate change.
  • 70–80% of the region’s original habitat has already been lost and that loss may increase to 80–87% by 2100. 1/4th of endemic species in the Indian Himalayas alone could be wiped out by 2100.
  • Hindu-Kush has been known as the home of numerous medicinal plants. Climate change of this region will have an effect on large pharmaceutical corporations, since the discovery and development of medicines is linked to figuring out the effects of herbs on the human body.
  • Over 550 larges hydropower projects are in existence or under construction in Hindu-Kush region which can impact the biodiversity of region.
  • New trade routes under China’s Belt and Road initiative could facilitate greater resource extraction and illegal wildlife trade.
  • Climate change is driving massive ecosystem changes on the permafrost and widespread desertification at the source areas of major rivers on the Tibetan plateau in China, turning grasslands and wetlands into desert.
  • About 40% of the HKH region is designated as protected areas, but actual implementation of conservation measures is much less. Authorities have little control over border regions sometimes plagued with ongoing conflict.
  • As per report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Floods would become more frequent and severe in the mountainous and downstream areas of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins.

About The Third Pole Environment (TPE)

  • TPE, an international research program, was launched in 2009 to the study of the Third Pole Environment. It focuses on the Tibetan Plateau and concerns the interests of the surrounding countries.

Conclusion

  • The life of the people in the Third Pole region is challenged due to climate change, and the stability of the region affected by the Third Pole is at risk, which will have implications for all of Asia and for the world.
  • However, there is still little knowledge of this situation, and its potential implications, outside the immediate vicinity. Hence, a special effort is needed to raise awareness of the fragility of the mountain social-ecological system.
[Ref: The Hindu, India Today]

 

Invasive weeds threatening tiger habitats in Adilabad

Invasive Weeds are responsible for decrease in the population of herbivores in Adilabad district forest places in Telangana, which are prey to tigers.

tiger-habitats-in-Adilabad-2

Invasive weed species of Adilabad

  • During the last decade, weeds like hyptis and parthenium have occupied almost all of the Adilabad forest in places where the presence of forest department is restricted to protecting trees only.
  • Invasive weeds do not allow the grasses palatable to wild herbivores to grow. As a result, Tigers in Adilabad forest is in need of grasslands.

What is weed?

  • Weed is a general term for any plant growing where it is not wanted. This plant requires some form of action to reduce its effect on the economy, the environment and human health.
  • Weeds are also known as invasive plants.
  • Weeds typically produce large numbers of seeds, assisting their spread. They are often excellent at surviving and reproducing in disturbed environments.

What are invasive species?

  • An invasive species is a species that is not native to a specific location and that has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment or human health.

Impact of invasive species

Impact-of-invasive-species

Key Facts

  • In 1992 at the Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biodiversity, biological invasion of alien species of plants was recognised as second worst threat to the environment after habitat destruction.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Annual Ganges river dolphin census begins

The annual Ganges river dolphin census began in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh.

Ganga-River-Dolphin-1

About the Ganges river dolphin census

  • It is undertaken by World Wide Fund for Nature-India in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department.
  • The census is being conducted along about 250-km-long riverine stretch of Upper Ganga between Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary and Narora Ramsar site.

Peculiar features of census

  • Unlike previous years, when direct counting method was used, in this census, the tandem boat survey method is being used for counting Ganges river dolphin.
  • In this census, the upstream of Bijnor Ganga barrage up to Balawali has also been included.

About tandem boat survey method

  • This method was developed by the renowned river and marine ecologist Gill Braulik.
  • This method provides a more accurate count of the endangered species.
  • In this method, the officials use two inflated boats which move in tandem to count the dolphins. After collating the data, statistical tools are employed to arrive at the final count.

About Gangetic Dolphins:

Ganga-River-Dolphin-3

  • River dolphins are found in Ganga and Brahmaputra and its tributaries.
  • It inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.
  • It is the National Aquatic Animal of India.
  • It has been declared endangered species and is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • This dolphin is among the four freshwater dolphins – the other three are the baiji (Critically Endangered from the Yangtze river) in China, the bhulan of the Indus in Pakistan and the boto of the Amazon River in Latin America.
  • Although there are several species of marine dolphins whose ranges include some freshwater habitats, these four species live only in rivers and lakes.
  • Being a mammal, the Ganges River dolphin cannot breathe in the water and must surface every 30-120 seconds.
  • Because of the sound it produces when breathing, the animal is popularly referred to as the ‘Susu’.
  • This fresh water dolphin species is practically blind. They rely on bio-sonar method to move around and catch their prey.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Spy in the Snow review: Winter wonderland

A documentary named ‘Spy in the Snow’ features cameras disguised as animals and objects observing animals in their natural habitat. It follows sea otters in Alaska, Bennett’s wallabies in Tasmania, emperor penguins in the Antartic and polar bears in the Arctic.

Spy in the Snow

Recent demands:

  • Experts have demanded that the IUCN status of species should be changed to ‘vulnerable’ from ‘near threatened’.
  • The experts also advocated that the emperor penguin should be listed by the Antarctic Treaty as a Specially Protected Species.
  • The 1959 treaty sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation, and bans military activity on the continent.

About Emperor Penguin:

‘Spy-in-the-Snow

  • The Emperor Penguin is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species and is endemic to Antarctica.
  • They are listed as ‘Near Threatened’ in the IUCN Red list.

Features

  • They can dive to depths of almost 550 metres.
  • To counter the cold, they are able to reduce their metabolism and reduce blood flow to non-essential organs.
  • To deal with the pressure of the water, they have evolved solid bones, as opposed to the hollow bones that are a common feature of birds that fly.

About Bennett’s wallaby

BENNETT'S WALLABY

  • The red-necked wallaby or Bennett’s wallaby is a medium-sized animal common in the more temperate and fertile parts of eastern Australia, including Tasmania.
  • They are members of the macropod (meaning long foot) family, which also includes kangaroos and wallaroos.
  • It is listed as Least Concern in IUCN Red list.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

Turkey begins offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria

Turkey has launched a military operation against Kurdish-led forces in north-eastern Syria, days after US troops pulled back from the border.

Kurdish-fighters-in-Syria-1

Who are the Kurds?

Kurds

  • The Kurds are the world’s largest stateless ethnic group.
  • The Kurdish population is spread across four countries –Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Armenia. Kurds make up between 7% and 10% of Syria’s population.
  • The majority among the Kurdish people are Sunni Muslim.
  • They speak language such as Kurmanji, Sorani which are related to Persian and Pashto. Kurds have served as mercenaries in many armies over the centuries.
  • The mediaeval warrior Saladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty that replaced the Fatimids in Egypt and ruled over large parts of the Middle East in the 12th and 13th centuries, was of Kurdish ethnicity.

History of Kurds

  • At the Treaty of Versailles (treaty that brought World War I to an end) conference after World War I, Kurdish proposed a new Kurdistan that covered parts of modern Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.
  • The Treaty of Sèvres (1920), which abolished the Ottoman Empire, called for an autonomous Kurdistan having a smaller territory entirely in what is now Turkey. However, in 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne overtook Treaty of Sèvres and ended the idea of a self-governing Kurdistan. The Treaty of Lausanne recognized the new boundaries of the modern state of Turkey.
  • Over the decades that followed, the Kurds made repeated attempts at establishing their own Kurdistan which attracted massive Turkish repression.
  • In 1978, a Kurdistan Workers’ Party was formed to set up an independent Kurdistan, which fought the Turkish army from 1984 till 1999. In 2013, there was a peace fire between these two groups. However, when Turkey joined the war against the Islamic State in 2015 and started to bomb PKK targets in Iraq.

What is Syrian conflict?

  • For decades, Kurds were suppressed and denied basic rights by the current President of Syria (Bashar al-Assad).
  • Before the uprising against him began in 2011, most Kurds lived in the cities of Damascus and Aleppo, and in three northern areas near the Turkish border (Afrin, Kobane and Qamishli).
  • In 2012, when the uprising evolved into a civil war, government forces withdrew from Kurdish areas to concentrate on fighting rebel factions elsewhere. As a result, Kurdish militias took control.
  • In 2014, the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) launched an assault on Kobane. The battle sparked alarm across the world and a US-led multinational coalition came in Syria to fight against IS. The Kurds became the US-led coalition’s most critical partner in Syria in fighting against IS.
  • The biggest Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), formed an alliance with local Arab militias called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in 2015.
  • With the help of coalition, SDF fighters drove IS out of a quarter of Syria and captured its last pocket of territory in Syria in March 2019. They also set up an autonomous administration to govern the region.

Why does Turkey want to launch military action?

Turkey-want-to-launch-military-action

  • Turkey has threatened to launch a military operation in SDF-held territory to create a safe zone along the Syrian side of the border.
  • Turkey wants to push back YPG members, which it views as an extension of a Kurdish rebel group that has been fighting in Turkey for decades and is designated a terrorist organisation.
  • Turkey also hopes to resettle at least 1 million of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it is currently hosting in the safe zone.
  • Due to this threat, the US military agreed in August 2019 to set up with the Turkish military a security mechanism in the border area. However, in October, the US Turkish President told US that it will undertake cross-border operation in Syria.
  • As soon as the US pulled its military from Syrian war, the Turkey recently attacked to take control of proposed safe zone in Syria.

What will be the impact?

people-in-camps

The area falling within Turkey’s safe zone is Syria’s most fertile plain. Also, a military offensive by Turkey could immediately displace at least 300,000 people and disrupt life-saving humanitarian services.

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Science & Technology

NASA launches satellite to explore where air meets space

NASA launched a satellite named Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) to explore the mysterious, dynamic region where air meets space.

NASA-Launches-ICON-Mission

About the Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite (ICON)

NASA-Launches-ICON-Mission-2

  • The Ionospheric Connection Explorer is a satellite designed to investigate changes in the Earth’s ionosphere.
  • Four instruments have been sent along with ICON for measuring wind speed, temperature, speed of ions and light emitted from the ion by ultraviolet cameras.
  • Currently, ICON has been designed for two year’s mission.

About Ionosphere

  • Ionoshpere is the dynamic region of atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above.
  • It is the top of atmosphere extending from about 60 km to 1,000 km altitude (80 to 400 Km above the mesosphere).
  • It includes the thermosphere and parts of the mesosphere and exosphere. It is divided into the sub-regions: D, E and F; based on what wavelength of solar radiation is absorbed.
  • The temperature starts increasing as the height increases in Ionosphere.
  • It is a very active part of the atmosphere, and grows and shrinks depending on the energy it absorbs from the Sun. The name ionosphere comes from the fact that gases in these layers are excited by solar radiation to form ions, which have an electrical charge.
  • In the ionosphere, charged particles are affected by the magnetic fields of both Earth and the sun resulting in creation of ‘Auroras’ (bright bands of light sometimes seeing near Earth’s poles).

Need

  • The radio communications and GPS signals travel through ionosphere.
  • Variations in ionosphere due to solar radiations and other effects from earth can result in distortions or even complete disruption of signals.
  • In order to understand this complicated region of near-Earth space and to understand what drives variability in the ionosphere ICON mission was launched.

Earths atmospheric layers

Earth’s-Atmosphere-1

Troposphere

  • The troposphere starts at the Earth’s surface and extends 8 to 14 kilometers high. This part of the atmosphere is the most dense. Almost all weather is in this region.

Stratosphere

  • The stratosphere starts just above the troposphere and extends to 50 kilometers high. The ozone layer, which absorbs and scatters the solar ultraviolet radiation, is in this layer.

Mesosphere

  • The mesosphere starts just above the stratosphere and extends to 85 kilometers high. Meteors burn up in this layer.

Thermosphere

  • The thermosphere starts just above the mesosphere and extends to 600 kilometers high. Aurora and satellites occur in this layer.

Ionosphere

  • Discussed above.

Exosphere

  • This is the upper limit of atmosphere. It extends from the top of the thermosphere up to 10,000 km.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Twist-based refrigeration: Twisting and coiling ‘twistocaloric’ yarns to keep cool

Researchers from multiple universities, including Nankai University in China, have found that the elastocaloric effect, if harnessed, may be able to do away with the need of fluid refrigerants used in fridges and air-conditioners.

elastocaloric-effect-1

What is elastocaloric effect?

elastocaloric-effect

  • The elastocaloric effect occurs when stress is applied or removed on an object and a phase transformation is induced. This results in heating/cooling of the material. This effect is called elastocaloric effect.
  • For example, when a rubber band is stretched, it absorbs heat from its environment, and when it is released, it gradually cools down. In this, we applied stress on rubber by stretching it. As we stretched the rubber, the temperate of rubber increased and on the releasing it, the rubber will cool down.

About the new discovery

  • In order to figure out how the twisting mechanism might be able to enable a fridge, the researchers compared the cooling power of rubber fibres, nylon and polyethylene fishing lines and nickel-titanium wires.
  • Instead of elongating these fibres, scientists just twisted the fibres. They observed high cooling from twist changes in twisted, coiled and supercoiled fibres.
  • They reported that the level of efficiency of the heat exchange (cooling and heating) in rubber bands is comparable to that of standard refrigerants.
  • This finding can lead to the development of greener, higher-efficiency and low-cost cooling technology.

Advantages of Elastocaloric Refrigeration

  • More efficient than vapor-compression refrigeration
  • No gases or volatile liquids involved
  • Non-hazardous
  • Re-usable and recyclable parts and components

Need for discovery

  • Refrigerant fluids (such as Hydro-Fluorocarbon- HFCs) are susceptible to leakages, and can contribute to global warming including deletion ozone layer.

About Montreal Protocol

Montreal Protocol

  • The Montreal Protocol, finalized in 1987, is a global agreement that regulates the production and consumption of nearly 100 man-made chemicals referred to as ozone depleting substances (ODS).
  • The Protocol is to date the only UN treaty ever that has been ratified by all 197 UN Member States.
  • The Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol was established in 1991 to provide assistance to developing country parties to the Montreal Protocol.
  • In 2007, the Parties decided to accelerate their schedule to phase out Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). Developed countries will completely phase them out by 2020 while Developing countries agreed to complete phase-out of HCFCs by 2030.
  • In 2016, Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali amendment in Rwanda to phase down production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) worldwide. Countries approved gradual reduction by 80-85 per cent by the late 2040s.

India’s effort in eliminating HCFC

  • In 2017, India launched the ‘HCFC phase out’ programme under its goal to end use of harmful ozone-depleting substances (ODS) by switching over to non-ozone depleting and low global warming potential technologies.
  • As part of this programme, India has decided to phase out HCFC 141b, which is a chemical used in foam manufacturing, by January 1, 2020. Government has partnered with the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) for providing competency enhancement of system to Micro, Small and Medium enterprises in foam manufacturing sector for ensuring smooth phase out of HCFC-141b.
  • Government is implementing a project to enhance skills and provide certification to one lakh refrigeration and air-conditioning service technicians with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) under Skill India Mission – Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

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