TAMPA: A pair of identical, sportscar-sized satellites are poised to zoom around the Earth and track changes in water and ice, offering new insights into global warming and sea level rise, NASA said Monday.
Groundwater, oceans, lakes, rivers and ice sheets will be monitored by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), a joint mission between the US space agency and German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).
The satellites are scheduled to blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday at 12:47 pm Pacific time (1947 GMT). A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will propel the satellites to an orbit about 310 miles (500 kilometers) above the Earth. The pair will fly 137 miles (220 kilometers) apart, or about the distance from Los Angeles to San Diego.
NASA has spent $430 million on the mission, and Germany has spent about $91 million. The new pair of satellites will pick up where the first GRACE mission left off, having completed its 15-year mission in 2017. The first GRACE mission gave scientists a trove of data about the ever-dwindling ice mass.
CM issues directions to cope with flood threats
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Sardar Usman Buzdar has said that keeping in view predictions of heavy rainfall and floods, all arrangements should be completed in order to cope with the threats.
He said that provincial and federal institutions concerned should work in an integrated manner to ensure the best arrangements for any emergency-like situation.
The CM said that all departments should perform their duties under the best coordination and keep close contact with the Meteorological Committee for Floods.
Information on climate situation should be received on a daily basis, he said and further directed the officials to devise an emergency plan regarding rain and expected floods. He said that he would personally supervise the arrangements and would not tolerate any laxity in this regard.
Heavy falls expected in catchments during next 24 hours: FFC
ISLAMABAD: Federal Flood Commission (FFC) has reported all main Rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlej are flowing normally amid heavy falls reported to occur in the catchments of major rivers during next 24 hours.
According to the daily FFC report on Saturday, water situation at reservoirs is persisting to decline where the actual river flows and reservoir elevations indicates that Tarbela Dam is at 1519.46 feet, 30.54 feet below its maximum conservation level (MAL) and Mangla reservoir at 70.45 feet below its MAL of 1242 feet which is 1171.55 feet. The present combined live storage of three reservoirs is 7.227 million acre-feet (MAF) (52.83 percent of the total storage capacity of 13.681 MAF).
According to Flood Forecasting Division (FFD), Lahore, yesterday’s trough of Westerly Wave over Northern Afghanistan today lies over Northeastern Afghanistan, whereas weak Seasonal Low continues to prevail over Northern Balochistan. “Moist currents from the Bay of Bengal are penetrating into Northeastern parts of Pakistan up to an elevation of 10,000 feet”, the report said.
For the next 24 hours, as predicted by the FFD, Lahore, widespread thunderstorm or rain with scattered heavy falls and isolated very heavy falls, besides, one or two extremely heavy falls are expected over the upper catchments of Rivers Sutlej, Ravi and Chenab including Gujranwala Division (Punjab) during the next 24 hours. “Scattered thunderstorm or rain with isolated heavy falls may also occur over the upper catchments of Rivers Indus and Jhelum including Punjab (Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Lahore and Sahiwal Divisions) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Peshawar, Kohat, D.I. Khan, and Bannu Divisions) during the same period.
“Wet Spell is likely to prevail from 23rd to 25th September”, the report claimed.
The report further added, “River Chenab is likely to attain Very High Flood stage at Marala and downstream area and Jhelum at Mangla including local nullahs (tributaries of Rivers Chenab and Ravi) may attain Very High Flood level during the next 24-48 hours”. However, the report mentions that the scale of the flood in Rivers Ravi and Sutlej at RIM stations or entry points in Pakistan depends upon releases from Indian Reservoirs.
The concerned District Management Authorities, provincial and district disaster management authorities i.e. PDMAs, DDMAs respectively and respective zones of Irrigation Department are advised to remain HIGHLY ALERT for any emergency situation in order to ensure the safety of human life, public and private properties, besides, Irrigation and Flood Protection Infrastructures all along Rivers Sutlej, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum from their RIM Stations or entry points in Pakistan and downstream areas.
Chinese scientists trace how young penguins died off!
BEIJING: Chinese scientists find that abrupt climate change and heavy precipitation might have caused young penguins to die off in the Antarctic centuries ago, warning that penguins may face similar disasters under the climate change today.
On Long Peninsula, East Antarctica, scientists from the University of Science and Technology of China identified a widely-distributed area of abandoned penguin breeding grounds where there are numerous mummified penguin carcasses.
Carbon dating revealed that there had been two disasters of collective deaths of penguins in the area around 200 years ago and 750 years ago, respectively. They analyzed the sediment around the carcasses of the penguins. Based upon the chronological and sedimentary evidence, they propose that the two events were caused by heavy regional precipitation, which led to the abandonment of numerous penguin subcolonies.
The research analyzed the reasons behind penguin disasters throughout history. It also warned that in the context of modern global changes, similar extreme weather events occur frequently, and as precipitation in the Antarctic continues to become more frequent, it could become an increasing threat to penguins. The research was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences.