Friday, 18 January 2019 08:41

Digital India versus Real India

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In the run-up to the general election, global tech companies must find ways to live with populism, pandering and paranoia.

As a digital destination, India is red-hot. After all, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his maiden appearance at Davos, had declared that he was replacing red tape with a red carpet; his administration had already embraced Digital India, the brand poised to displace the Incredible India of palaces, camels and yoga retreats. While Digital India is a mix of many public sector initiatives as well as private ones — such as a 4G network blanketing the nation with Internet access at throwaway prices — it needs the digital players from the outside. And these outside players have responded. Amazon was so gung-ho that it pledged $5 billion on cracking India. In response, arch-rival, Walmart, raised the bar by putting down $16 billion to secure its own toehold. Nevertheless, Amazon has dug in for the long haul; after “Prime” and “Alexa”, apparently, “India” is the third-most frequently used term in its recent letters to shareholders. Beyond the retail giants, there are the usual Silicon Valley suspects — Google, Facebook, Netflix, etc. — hoping to be the stewards of a digitally-emergent nation. Even Indian startups have felt the love. Ventures, mostly digital ones, have raked in over $10 billion in funding from overseas for two years in a row.

Modi’s “red carpet” call was issued from the Swiss mountains a year ago — in 2018. But, for now, welcome to 2019, notably, an election year. The digital CEOs jetting in expecting that red carpet must recognise that this is a year when “real” India takes precedence. They must also be able to distinguish between the many faces of real India and frame their strategies appropriately.

First, there is the India of small towns and villages that makes for riveting case studies in business school classrooms. This is the India where the nawabs of the Net go native: Finely calibrated products and processes are re-calibrated to suit the uniquely Indian context. Websites and apps are stripped-down to work with low-end phones. Local shopkeepers, whose businesses will be eviscerated by global e-commerce, are re-deployed to become the distribution agents of those e-commerce giants by taking to bicycles and two-wheelers to navigate the unpaved roads and unmarked addresses that Google Maps cannot locate. This is the India where digital players put aside their allergy to the analogue world and accept cold hard cash. This is the India where the Googles and Amazons must invest in translation to multiple language to ensure they are truly making inroads. Suffice it to say, any digital player serious about the Indian consumer has been working hard to figure out how to crack this facet of Indian reality.

Then, there is a second face of real — mostly urban — India attempting to grapple with the same struggles as their counterparts in the rest of the world: Balancing the conveniences and the sheer thrill of digital connectivity with concerns about violation of privacy and manipulation by nefarious groups. WhatsApp, India’s prime conduit for digital rumour-mongering, has taken several steps, ranging from public service advertisements and appointing a grievance officer (albeit one who is still based in California) and limiting forwarding of messages. It is unclear how effective these measures will be, particularly in advance of an election season. If the recent experience prior to the elections in Brazil — marked by an “unprecedented industrial use of disinformation” (according to the fact-checking organisation, Aos Fatos) — is any indicator, the Indian voters should brace themselves for a whirlwind ahead. The digital players are still fumbling in their attempts to address these concerns and will continue to grope around in the dark looking for a solution.

This brings us to a third face of real India that shows up prior to election season: A reality that is a perfect storm of populism, pandering and paranoia. For populism, one needs to look no further than the world’s digitally most connected politician. Prime Minister Modi continues to brand himself as a champion of the aspirational middle-class and has seized the political narrative using digital tools, such as the NaMo app. This is just fine, except that when the NaMo app comes pre-installed in 40 million Reliance Jio phones, the branding begins to feel a tad Orwellian. When Modi’s image is, in turn, used in advertisements for “Jio Digital Life”, the Orwellian circle is complete.

Then there is the pandering. Apart from the cozy connections with certain large businesses as evidenced above, pandering takes place in the form of protectionism on behalf of local businesses, both large and small. Recent draft government rules suggest a plan to require that Indian users’ data be stored locally. Since international digital players typically store data in servers around the world, this would drive up their storage costs disproportionately. This would, obviously, please local businesses and work in the current administration’s favour in an election. To pile on the munificence to local businesses, the Modi administration recently tightened rules on international e-commerce players, effectively preventing them from selling products from affiliated vendors or selling proprietary products at discounted prices. This, too, builds much-needed goodwill prior to elections. One can only hope that there is no demonetisation 2.0 that is sprung on the country given how well that worked in pandering to the “ordinary man”.

Finally, to see paranoia in action consider the home ministry’s recent authorisation extended to 10 government agencies with rights to access user data “for the purposes of interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received, or stored in any computer resource”. All of this, of course, runs counter to the Supreme Court’s determination of citizens having a fundamental right to privacy. Even though government surveillance can, in theory, be carried out on anyone, it is fair to assume that it could have a chilling effect on the administration’s critics and political opponents.

Each of these pre-election moves can be confounding to the uninitiated international CEO and it is unclear if they are in the best interests of the users. I am afraid, even the world’s most sophisticated digital players haven’t figured out how to deal with this face of real India, that is, the politically charged India of the election season where the red tape abruptly returns and replaces the red carpet.

The lesson is clear: Digital India can never out-run the real India; the two must share the same road. Much like on the very real roads of India, digital players must learn how to swerve, speed up and hit the brakes at any time. They must constantly “blow horn” to make a noise and ensure their presence is felt. If it doesn’t figure out how to do the swerve-speed up-brake and blow horn routine, digital India will be on a collision course with real India — and there is little doubt which India will win.

Ever the wordsmith, Prime Minister Modi had remarked in an early trip to Japan: “We used to play with snakes, now we play with the mouse. When we move a mouse, the whole world moves.” My one piece of advice to Amazon, Walmart, Google and all others of their ilk: Don’t get too comfortable with that mouse. We still play with snakes.

Courtesy - Indian Express

"Looking at ultra-processed food for children as something that is as big a threat as smoking, which is injurious to health. All junk foods should come with this warning, including tetra-pack juices or fibre-filled biscuits." as per “Rujuta Diwekar” a famous nutritionist opinion.

Popular nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar needs no introduction. Be it her food myth-busters on social media or her books answering queries on health and well-being, Diwekar has become the go-to expert for a lot of people. The author recently penned another book, this time, on children, titled Notes for Healthy Kids, which focuses on going beyond just the assimilation of nutrients in the body to really enjoy food and its heritage. Express Parenting got to know more about the book from Diwekar through a brief tete-a-tete. Here are some excerpts:

What inspired you to write the book?

This is actually something that I had been thinking about for the longest time. Wherever I would go for a talk, people would constantly ask me when I was writing for kids. So, to me, writing this book almost feels like the completion of an unfinished project. And now, with diet fads and us staring at climate change and wars over food and water, god knows what the future has in store for us! I felt that it’s just the right time to write a book for children. One more reason for this is also because India currently has the second highest number of obese children and also the highest number of malnourished children. These were a few motivating factors for writing this book.

In your book, you’ve emphasised on passing the “grandmother test” before choosing what to eat. Can you explain what that means?

This basically means that you need to be eating food which is local to the region that you live in, which is in season and prepared in your kitchen using traditional recipes. It is something our stomach and palette already knows and identifies with. So, we would be able to digest this food quite well. Almost everything that our grandmoms don’t recognise as food is that which has travelled a very long distance to land on our plate or it may just be something that is ultra-processed and being positioned as good for our health. The grandmom-test essentially allows you to tell the real stuff from marketed food.

Can you bust some myths about what is healthy and what isn’t?

Ghee: Ghee is extremely nutritious. Ghee has a very unique kind of fatty acid structure, which allows your body to assimilate all the nutrients from anything that you are eating. I would say, ghee is a health tonic.

Milk: Try and buy milk from a local dairy; Indian cow milk is better than from the Jersey cow. If your child, by any chance, doesn’t like milk, you don’t need to force feed it by mixing a powder or switching to almond or soya milk. A lot of parents think that milk is the only source of calcium and protein but that’s not the case. You can very well derive these nutrients from a wholesome diet. So, even if you give your child a ragi dosa or moringa, it will serve the purpose.

Traditional sweets: All our traditional sweets are a complete package of macro and micro nutrients. They are rich in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Most of them are prepared using millets or pulses, like a nachni laddoo, besan laddoo or nariyal barfi. They invariably have nuts, which add to their nutrient profile, along with ghee, sugar or jaggery. So, they really are balls of energy. We should ensure that we are routinely making them at home.

Also Read: When can babies start having walnuts, almonds and other nuts?

There seems to be a lot of paranoia among parents about children’s diet and health. What could be the possible reasons?

I think a part of it is because we are constantly talking about diet and one can’t escape it. Now, there is a lot of focus on just nutrients. And once you start having a very reductionist view of food, then it is natural for fear and apprehension to grow. Most advertisements are also geared towards this form of fear. And that becomes a narrative. The apprehension comes more out of the narrative than the fact. The body is used to a very wholesome and holistic approach. It’s about the big picture. It’s about eating your food properly, enjoying what you are eating, going to bed on time, having healthy relationships, and so on. Good health is much more than just acing a nutrient.

Is junk food a strict no-no?

Identifying junk food and then having it once in a while is totally okay. For instance, if you are on a highway and there’s nothing else but a burger place, you can have it. But going to junk food places to celebrate birthdays or opting for them as a return gift for a birthday party or buying chips or chocolates out of habit is something we need to stop. I look at ultra-processed food for children as something that is as big a threat as smoking, which is injurious to health. All junk foods should come with this warning, including tetra-pack juices or fibre-filled biscuits.

Can you suggest some tips on how parents can teach their child to appreciate food?

One of the first things that I would like to tell parents is to not take their child to a mall every weekend. At least once a month, take them to a farm. That is what will help them appreciate food better because that’s how they will understand where it comes from. And once you understand the source of something, then you are more likely to take interest in food. Children love being out on the farm, planting and harvesting. You can help them plant a tree in the neighbourhood so they understand what it takes to grow something.

Speak to them in your local native tongue. We are under the threat of losing so many of our indigenous languages. Without knowing your local language, you cannot possibly understand or appreciate your cuisine. And when you don’t do that, you stay disconnected from health, harmony and happiness that your cuisine brings you.

Involve your child in the cooking process. Have him or her come to the kitchen, get them to set the table, have them pick the food, and so on.

How would you define a “healthy child”?

My definition of a healthy child is one who is energetic, enthusiastic, has an open green space to run in, doesn’t need a gadget to eat, who can just hit the pillow and sleep and wake up fresh. A healthy child is an integral part of the sustainable development for the future.

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

 

As we mature into adulthood and older age, it is our social relationships, not the number but their quality, which will determine how long we live and the quality of these years of life.

 

If the pursuit of a long and healthy life is the central goal of medicine, indeed humanity itself, then love is its most powerful intervention. This may seem like a fatuous declaration, and I might be undermining my own academic pretensions by using this word in preference to the scientific jargon which medicine shrouds itself in, but the facts speak for themselves. These facts come from a number of scientific studies focusing on different stages of our lives and examining the diverse ways in which love expresses itself.

 

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From the earliest hours of our lives, being loved by our parents is the most important predictor of our well-being. Some of the mechanisms are obvious, for example being fed adequately. But there are more potent, less visible, pathways too. Parenting, the technical term used to describe the way a parent responds to their child with affection, attention and admiration, is profoundly important to stimulate the brain to learn effectively and manage one’s emotions competently, both essential to a healthy and long life. The experience of being loved by one’s child is, in turn, a driver of the parent’s well-being. During our youth, the range of relationships through which love can be expressed expands significantly to include our peers, teachers and even strangers in our neighbourhoods. Being excluded or friendless, or spending time in schools or neighbourhoods where hate or violence breeds with impunity, greatly damages our health. As we mature into adulthood and older age, it is our social relationships, not the number but their quality, which will determine how long we live and the quality of these years of life.

 

Perhaps the most celebrated study which provides compelling evidence on the potency of these factors is Harvard’s Grant and Glueck study which has been in progress for over 75 years. The study followed up two distinct groups of men, one comprising 456 men from poor families in Boston and the other comprising 268 Harvard graduates. Successive generations of researchers regularly carried out extensive health assessments of these men. Over time, many men died, and the researchers were able to study which factors, across the life course, predicted mortality. Not surprisingly, the usual medical suspects, from smoking to high cholesterol levels, were important predictors. But the factors which out-weighed all others, as the most important predictors of a long and healthy life, were the quality of the relationships the men had with others and the extent to which they were engaged with their communities.

 

There are other strands of research which complement this evidence, perhaps most vividly the impact of the loss of love on our well-being. The most grievous loss of love any of us will experience is that of our intimate partner, particularly after a long and fulfilling period of living together. An example of a study examining the impact of such loss is the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study. Researchers followed up 12,316 people for 10 years, observing who lost a spouse and then recording when they themselves died. Losing a partner dramatically increased the risk of dying, especially in the first three months after the loss when compared with those whose partners were alive, the risk increased by a whopping 66 per cent.

 

Many people will mock the idea of love being a potent medicine simply on the basis of such observations. They will demand proof, in the form of a plausible biological mechanism. How, for example, can soothing one’s crying baby and experiencing their joyful smile in response, hugging a friend and feeling their arms tighten around you, caring for one’s neighbour and knowing they will stand by you in your hour of need, experiencing mutual pleasure during sexual intercourse, enhance our well-being and extend life? We now know that such acts are associated with a range of bodily changes, for example due to the increased amounts of oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love hormone”, released in response to such behaviour. And, when acts of love are life-long investments, their effects are incremental because of sustained biological processes and behavioural choices.

 

The science pointing to the fact that our social relationships are profoundly important for our health would come as no surprise to most of us: After all, we can each look into our own lives and recognise the magical effects of being loved by someone and, equally importantly, loving them, on our own well-being. It would also not surprise evolutionary biologists who have long recognised that a foundational feature of our species is that we are social creatures. We need — indeed we thrive on — connections with others. And, importantly, these “others” are not restricted to our small circle of family and intimate friends. The power of love works just as well when we care for those who are lonely as they grow old or suffer mental health problems, those who are excluded or marginalised because they are different from the majority in one way or another, those whose lives we have authority over such as the persons who serve us in our homes or work-places. The important point is that, far from this being an act of charity for someone we perceive as being less fortunate than ourselves, caring for others, through direct acts of compassion or by standing up for their rights, ultimately stands to benefit us just as much. It triggers the biological mechanisms which make us healthier and happier, and fuels the social mechanisms which make our communities harmonious.

 

The evidence is clear. It isn’t money, medicine or power, but our acts of love and caring for others and being loved and cared for by others, two mutually reinforcing pathways, which are the most potent influences on our well-being. To top this, the best news is that you don’t need to look far to find opportunities to exercise this potent dose, for people whom we can care for are abundantly present in our homes and our neighbourhoods. If you don’t already know this, just reach out to someone with love and experience the well-being seep into you.

 

 

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

Friday, 18 January 2019 08:11

Graphic novels can get kids interested in reading

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The narration of stories clubbed with images makes it easier for a reader to travel to distant lands and explore other cultures. Pictures help one to understand and imagine the meaning of the text better.

Gone are the days when reading used to be a popular habit among many people. In today’s hectic world, the habit of reading is almost getting obsolete. Bringing it back, especially among children, is becoming a challenge. With changing times and life becoming fast-paced, there is a shift in reading material as well. People are gradually moving towards something that is easy and quick to read and consume. In such a scenario, graphic novels can be a great fit as reading material.

What are graphic novels? Graphic novels can be understood as comic books with slightly more mature content, and lengthier than serialised comic books. They can perhaps be perceived as novels but with images along with words to narrate a story. There are many benefits that graphic novels can offer:

Inculcate the habit of reading in children

Lengthy novels are difficult for children to grasp, whereas the length of graphic novels does not deter children from reading them, the reason being the interesting way the story narrative is accompanied by images. This helps kids develop a taste in reading, which goes a long way in making them avid readers in future.

Quick to read

For energetic children, making them sit patiently and read something is a difficult task at times. Graphic novels are quick bites, easy to read and consume. The storylines are exciting and engaging, which leaves children hooked to them. Even for adults, who are always occupied in their hectic work schedules and miss their reader mode due to the paucity of time, graphic novels would be the best option to rekindle their love of reading.

High quality language

A good graphic novel is a combination of precise words and great illustrations. Since the text is complemented with pictures, it is crisp and hence chosen with great care. Reading graphic novels can hold a child’s attention very well while nurturing and enriching their vocabulary.

Easily transports one to new cultures

It may not be possible for everyone to be well acquainted with the art of languages and it could be a barrier in reading novels across boundaries. However, the narration of stories clubbed with images makes it easier for a reader to travel to distant lands and explore other cultures. Even if one is not completely familiar with the language, pictures help one to understand and imagine the meaning of the text better.

Available in all the genres

Graphic novels are not synonymous with comic books alone any more. One can find graphic novels as per one’s reading appetite. The novels are spread across genres like fiction, history, comedy, mythology, fantasy, romance, drama, etc. The various genres of graphic novels are enough to satiate one’s reading palate.

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

Friday, 18 January 2019 08:09

Lack of sleep can lead to heart problems: Study

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In order to arrive at the result, accelerometers were attached on the waists of 3,974 healthy men and women by the researchers. This was done for over seven nights in order to examine the duration and the quality of the sleep.

 

While it is very important to sleep, a new study, published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, has revealed that sleeping less than six hours during the night or even sleeping poorly can lead to heart disease. In order to arrive at the result, accelerometers were attached to the waists of 3,974 healthy men and women by the researchers. This was done for over seven nights in order to examine the duration and the quality of the sleep.

 

According to the report in The New York Times that quotes this study, all these men and women underwent the three-dimensional ultrasound that keeps a check on the blood flow through the blood vessels, and other physical exams. Factors like diabetes, smoking, fasting glucose and cholesterol were controlled and it was deduced that those who slept for less than six hours were 27 per cent more vulnerable to suffer from heart problems. Those who slept fitfully or moved a bit are also more susceptible to have more accumulations of plaque as compared to those who slept soundly.

 

“We’re detecting disease in its earliest stages in apparently healthy young people,” Dr Valentin Fuster, co-author and director of the Mount Sinai Heart Center said. “This is something that was done only at autopsy until now. This is an alarm system, telling you that there is another cardiovascular risk factor you should pay attention to.”

 

Courtesy - Indian Express

From attraction to strong love, 

Every Relationship Has These Five Stages: If You Are Really In Love Then Only You Cross The Third One

As lovebirds, people never prefer stirring up anything that is confounded. But when it comes to love,  who can fight the temptation to simply fall into it? Love is an excellent inclination which comes in stages. There are fundamentally 5 phases of affection; however, a great many people are stuck with organizing three only. How about we discover why! Love is a feeling that a significant portion of us long for. It occurs with the most unforeseen person, and no more surprising time. The sentiment of adoration has no correlations; it is extreme ecstasy! Love is something that draws out the best in a man. Come, how about we experience the five phases of affection. Hang tight, don't surrender here at any rate before achieving the fifth stage. 

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

Friday, 24 August 2018 17:22

These late night snacks are actually good for you

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Here are some quick, easy-to-make, tasty snacks that won’t cause you to pack on the pounds.

There are times when our body behaves rather funnily – it craves for food right before bedtime. Most people end up indulging themselves, even if they know that the idea of a late night snack is not good news for their waistline. As a cure to your hunger pangs, here are some foods that can tuck all your worries away.

Popcorn
Easy to make, filling and full of crunch, this light weight snack is the best thing to toss in your mouth to calm your hunger pangs.

Pistachios
A fistful of these nuts are enough to fill your grumbling stomach in the middle of the night. Packed with good carbs and proteins, pistachios are a great choice for a light night snack.

Yogurt
If you’re in the mood for something plain and light, pick up a bowl of yogurt. You can top it with some nuts, granola or cereals for that extra crunch. Apparently, yogurt, which is a good source of protein is also a sleep inducer.

Bananas
Easy to find, cheap, and a fruit that (maybe) no one hates, bananas make for a healthy option if you are hungry and pining for some food. You can churn it into a banana smoothie or whip up a banana shake (with little or no sugar) if you are willing to make that effort.

Whole grain crackers
Whole grain crackers are easily available in the market these days. These crispy snacks topped with some cheese or fruit preserve can be tweaked to savoury or sweet options, as one may like.

Cereals
Mixed with curd or milk, it is an option that not only makes for a great breakfast snack but also is a great midnight snack. Filling, and full of nutrition, it is also something that is very easy to put together.

So, what are you going to pick next time you’re hit by hunger pangs in the middle of the night?

Courtesy - Indian Express

A study from the University of California, Berkeley says sleep problems are related to loneliness; sleep deprivation apparently makes people more lonely. In order to arrive at the result, 18 young adults were tested in two different scenarios.

Finding it difficult to sleep is a problem faced by many. But did you know that sleep deprivation might be a reason why you feel more lonely? A study from the University of California, Berkeley as quoted in a report in The Guardian says sleep problems are related to loneliness; sleep deprivation apparently makes people more lonely.

In order to arrive at the result, 18 young adults were tested in two different scenarios after they had an interrupted sleep and after they slept soundly. Then a video clip was recorded where the degree of separation they want from another person was recorded. It was found out that when sleep deprived they kept others at a distance up to 60 percent back.

In another experiment, around 1,000 people were asked to rate photographs— that included some who were sleep deprived— to judge who appeared more socially attractive. Photos of those who did not get enough sleep ranked the lowest. It was deduced by researchers that alienation generated out of sleep-deprivation can “trigger the transmission of loneliness”

“We humans are a social species. Yet sleep deprivation can turn us into social lepers…The less sleep you get, the less you want to socially interact. In turn, other people perceive you as more socially repulsive, further increasing the grave social-isolation impact of sleep loss. That vicious cycle may be a significant contributing factor to the public health crisis that is loneliness,” says Matthew Walker, senior author of the study.

Loneliness is turning out to be a social epidemic and it is about time we deal with it head on.

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

The Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) satellite is scheduled to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on September 15.

NASA is launching a laser-armed satellite next month that will measure — in unprecedented detail — changes in the heights of Earth’s polar ice to understand what is causing ice sheets to melt fast. In recent years, contributions of melt from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica alone have raised global sea level by more than a millimeter a year, accounting for approximately one-third of observed sea level rise, and the rate is increasing.

Called the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), the mission is scheduled to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on September 15, NASA said in a statement late on Thursday. ICESat-2 will measure the average annual elevation change of land ice covering Greenland and Antarctica to within the width of a pencil, capturing 60,000 measurements every second.

“The new observational technologies of ICESat-2 will advance our knowledge of how the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica contribute to sea level rise,” said Michael Freilich, Director of the Earth Science Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

Also Read: NASA launches two virtual reality apps: Allows users to take selfies in cosmic locations

ICESat-2 will improve upon NASA’s 15-year record of monitoring the change in polar ice heights. It started in 2003 with the first ICESat mission and continued in 2009 with NASA’s Operation IceBridge, an airborne research campaign that kept track of the accelerating rate of change. ICESat-2’s Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) measures height by timing how long it takes individual light photons to travel from the spacecraft to Earth and back.

“ATLAS required us to develop new technologies to get the measurements needed by scientists to advance the research,” said Doug McLennan, ICESat-2 Project Manager. “That meant we had to engineer a satellite instrument that not only will collect incredibly precise data, but also will collect more than 250 times as many height measurements as its predecessor,” he added.

Also Read: NASA chief excited about prospects for exploiting water on Moon

ATLAS will fire 10,000 times each second, sending hundreds of trillions of photons to the ground in six beams of green light. With so many photons returning from multiple beams, ICESat-2 will get a much more detailed view of the ice surface than its predecessor. As it circles Earth from pole to pole, ICESat-2 will measure ice heights along the same path in the polar regions four times a year, providing seasonal and annual monitoring of ice elevation changes. Beyond the poles, ICESat-2 will also measure the height of ocean and land surfaces, including forests.

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

In the Southern Ocean region, carbon atoms move between rocks, rivers, plants, oceans and other sources in a planet-scale life cycle.

The open water nearest to the sea ice surrounding Antarctica releases significantly more carbon dioxide in winter than previously believed, showed a study conducted using an array of robotic floats. The robotic floats diving and drifting in the Southern Ocean around the southernmost continent made it possible to gather data during the peak of the Southern Hemisphere’s winter from a place that remains poorly studied, despite its role in regulating the global climate.

“These results came as a really big surprise, because previous studies found that the Southern Ocean was absorbing a lot of carbon dioxide,” said lead author Alison Gray, Assistant Professor at the University of Washington.

In the Southern Ocean region, carbon atoms move between rocks, rivers, plants, oceans and other sources in a planet-scale life cycle. It is also among the world’s most turbulent bodies of water, which makes obtaining data extremely difficult. According to the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the floating instruments collected the new observations. The instruments dive down to 1 km and float with the currents for nine days.

Next, they drop even farther, to 2 km, and then rise back to the surface while measuring water properties. After surfacing they beam their observations back to shore via satellite. Unlike more common Argo floats, which only measure ocean temperature and salinity, the robotic floats also monitor dissolved oxygen, nitrogen and pH — the relative acidity of water.

The study analysed data collected by 35 floats between 2014 and 2017. The team used the pH measurements to calculate the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide, and then uses that to figure out how strongly the water is absorbing or emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

Courtesy - Indian Express

 

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