(Sample Material) Study Kit on Current Affairs for UPSC Mains Exam: Science and Technology: Marine Food Chain

(Sample Material) Study Kit on Current Affairs for UPSC Mains Examination

Science and Technology: Marine Food Chain

  • El Nino years can have a big impact on phytoplankton the tiniest plants in the ocean -disrupting the marine food chain and affecting fisheries and the livelihoods of fishermen said Scientists from NASA.
  • In EI Nino years huge masses of warm water equivalent to about half of the volume of the Mediterranean sea slosh east across the Pacific Ocean towards South America.
  • While this warm water changes storm systems in the atmosphere, it also has an impact below the ocean’s surface.
  • The mass of warm water puts a lid on the normal currents of cold, deep water that typically rise to the surface along the equator and off the coast of Chile and Peru.
  • In a process called upwelling, those cold waters normally bring up the nutrients that feed the tiny organisms, which form the base of the food chain. EI Nino basically stops this normal ukpwelling leading to lot of stavation that happens to the marine food wed.
  • With NASA satellite data and ocean colour software ‘called SeaDAS, scientists have been’ mapping where these important phytoplankton appear.
  • The ocean colour maps, based on a month’s worth of satellite data, can show that ‘EI Nino impact On phytoplankton.
  • In December 2015, at the peak of the current EI ‘Nino event, there was more blue and less green chlorophyll in the Pacific Ocean off of .Peru. and Chile compared to the previous year researchers said.
  • They are also watching as the EI Nino, weakens this spring to see when, and where the phytoplankton reappears as the upwelling cold water brings nutrients back to the region.
  • Researchers are noting reduced food available, along the food chain’ around the Galapagos Islands, for example. There has also been a drop in phytoplankton off’ the coast of South’ America.
  • Scientists now have more tools on hand to study this El Nino, and can study more elements of the event.
  • Scientists are typing to understand their role as a carbon pump.
  • The carbon pump refers to one of the ways the Earth system removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When phytoplankton die, their carbon-based bodies sink to the ocean floor, wher they can remain for millions of years.
  • Scientists are trying to understand their role as a carbon pump.
  • The carbon pump refers to one of the ways the Earth system removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When phytoplankton die, their carbon-based bodies sink to the ocean floor, where they can remain for millions of years.

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Floating Dam

  • An initiative which has the potential to be, replicated to clean country’s rivers of garbage is being tried out in Chennai.
  • Chennai Corporation with the help of a Bangalore based company is testing out a floating trash barrier on the 65-km-long Cooum River.
  • The trash barrier is aluminum net of 60, metres long and 40 metres wide. This ‘is placed diagonally on the river.
  • It is secured at the sides and anchored in the water.
  • The trash hits the barrier and due to the flow of the water slide’s down it and lands downstream at the bank, of the river where it can, be collected easily.
  • More often deploying the boats and manually cleaning the rivers were used to clean the river, thanks to the barrier the costly method of deploying boats can be avoided.
  • In large rivers like the Ganges, a 50-metre section can be placed downstream of teh source of solid - for example the Ghats where pilgrims discard offerings.
  • Interestingly, globally, a massive project is afoot to clean up the Pacific using a following barrier.
  • The Ocean Cleanup will deploy a 100-metre-long barrier in the North Sea, 23 km off the Netherlands coast to trap plastic debris.
  • Learning from this pilot will be used for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch clean up in 2020, a super ambitious’ project that is touted as the world’s large ocean clean-up operation.

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