The topic of the Global Conference is an appropriate topic in today’s context. More so, the present-day travails of our ecosystem need imminent scientific intervention to curtail the further depletion of our environment. Moreover, the topic is a multidisciplinary, viz. Chemistry, Physics, and Engineering, Sugar Industry including Thermal Power Plants, etc.
Green House Gases (GHGs) and their control at the source from whatever the source be, will motivate people to take some new strategies to control GHGs at the “SOURCE” and it will be more effective for global control.
Sources of Green Houses Gases (GHGs)
Methane Emission at Global Level (Source IPCC)
Methane Emission from Different Sources (Science Reporter, September 2010)
“If the greenhouse effect is a blanket in which we wrap ourselves to keep warm, then winter kicks the blanket off” said Carl Sagan. Reading about the blue colored ozone gas, we never had the faintest idea that this poisonous gas would be lifesaving as well. Found in the lower layers of the stratosphere, the ozone layer is acting as a shield protecting the flora and fauna of the earth from the harmful ultraviolet portions of the sun.
Scientists have recently been witnessing a decrease in the level of ozone from 6 to 8 percent. The more sophisticated we become, the more we are destroying our mother earth. The rapid urbanization has no doubt increased the emissions of chlorofluoro carbons. And above all, the aerosol propellants’, the blowing agents and refrigerant fluids are harmful in heaps. A single CFC molecule alone has the capacity to damage one lakh ozone molecules. There is a new class of chemical compounds impacting the earth’s ozone layer and raising concerns amongst some scientists. But a new NASA research indicates stratospheric ozone could actually be impacted by climate change and the continued release of already banned chemicals. The earth’s ozone hole is showing signs of recovery. Decade after the landmark agreement called the Montreal Protocol signed in late 1980’s when scientists and policy makers from gathered together to save the ozone layer.
The detection of the ozone hole was first and foremost made possible over the Antarctica. It was observed that the ozone hole could be seen during the months of September to October and sooner got replenished in the months of November- December. The phenomena of ozone depletion takes place at lower temperatures, and so it was first detected in the snow covered Polar Regions of Antarctica. The North American people may be affected from skin cancer, and parts of Australia, Argentina, Chile and Newzealand have recently been witnessing a decrease in the ozone density. Compared to European countries, the Indian subcontinent has a higher level of ozone. The southern portion of India is lying in the danger zone as It experiences a large amount of UV light in the summers.
Ozone and the concept of global warming are linked together and walk hand in hand. Quoting the data given by the Environment Minister India, Shri Jayanthi Narayan during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) on May 9.2018, India’s total net gas emissions were equivalent to 1,301.3 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide and this data has been increasing every year .Are we doing justice to the green-house gases which are continuously giving their 100 percent in the act of protecting the human race? The Indian Energy Sector has recently become the sole contributor to around two-thirds of the overall greenhouse gases, followed by the agricultural and industrial sector which releases the next 20 percent emission. The annual greenhouse emissions from economic sectors of India can be summed up as follows: Power plants- 25%; Industrial processes-21%; Agricultural, Forestry and other land use-24%; Residential, Commercial and other sources- 6%; Transportation Fuels- 14% and other energy sources-10%.
The Indian forests were an active absorber of 222,567 a million tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent. Massive depletion of forests has increase the content of methane, carbon-dioxide and other GHC emissions. It has been estimated that in the future, the temperature increase would be around 3.5-4.3 degrees celsius by the end of the century. In 2050, the percentage of forests would be 30% of that existing today and further decrease to 45% at the end of this century. The global warming will affect the quality of crop yields of rice and wheat and the overall yield would decrease to 6 million tonnes with a temperature increase of 1%. Professor K. Krishna Kumar of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology has put forward the fact that higher resolution climate models would be required. A decrease in the rainfall in the southern peninsular region of India would be soon noticed.
As put forth by Justus Notholt, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Bremen in Germany. “Antarctica is the only place in the world where the surface is colder than the stratosphere”. And the surface temperatures are 20 degrees colder than those in the deeper atmospheric layers. Antarctica is no doubt a habitat for many extremes, the world’s highest elevated content, made up ice is technically a desert. But less precipitation accounts for the ‘negative greenhouse effect’, says Sergio Sejas, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
The persistent inversions in temperature ranges are no doubt causing the green house gases to emit much more heat to the space then they would trap. Sejas, also analyzed the fact that water vapor may give a cooling effect in Antarctica. We are aware that carbon dioxide gets thoroughly mixed with the atmosphere, and Sejas further threw light on the fact that some of the heat radiated towards space by CO2 in Antarctica still gets trapped by gas particles at higher altitudes, but this does not hold true for the water-vapor. Sejas further explained the theory that any heat radiated towards space by low altitude is trapped further by gaseous contents in the higher altitudes as if the continents’ heat trapping comforter has been ripped apart in the middle of the night. Thus a warmer globe would increasingly speed up the amount of water vapor content in the stratosphere, and thus exposing Antarctica more vulnerable to green house warming as are the different parts of the globe. Global warming must be seen as an economic and security threat.
In the words of Sir John Houghton, “The impacts of global warming are such that I have no hesitation in describing it as a weapon of mass destruction. Like Terrorism, this weapon knows no boundaries, it can strike anywhere in any form. The story of humankind and our relationship to the earth may be seen as a continuous adventure or a tragedy shrouded in mystery. The choice is ours…!!
“Energy sector biggest greenhouse gas emitter in India,” says National Communication to UNFCCC”
More climate models needed for improving future projections: Scientists
Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan made public India’s second report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on May 9 in New Delhi in the presence of about 100 scientists. The report referred to as the National Communication gives details of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and impacts and vulnerability assessments.
According to the report, India’s gas emissions in 2000 was 1.3 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent. This was 5.9 % more than the emissions in the first National Communication Report submitted in 2004, which used baseline data of 1994
The energy sector has emerged as the largest contributor of greenhouse gases, accounting for two-thirds of the total emissions, followed by agriculture (20%) and industrial processes (see ‘Natcom report highlights’).
Natcom report highlights
The report put together by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in coordination with the scientists from more than 120 institutions of national repute, has also made projections about temperature increase, rainfall pattern and impact on agriculture and forests.
The report has predicted an overall increase in temperature by 3.5 to 4.3°C towards the end of the century. The report uses future scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to assess the impact of climate change. Scientists at the workshop, however, pointed out that the forecasts are based only on one climate model and that more simulation models need to be used. K Krishna Kumar of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology said that higher resolution climate models and more number of climate models would be needed for more robust predictions.
The report says a 1°C increase in temperature can reduce wheat production by 6 million tonnes unless the right strategies are adapted. It has said there could be a decrease in rainfall in the southern peninsula. As for the impact on temperature increase on forests, the report says that the percentage of forests deemed vulnerable will be 30 % by 2050 and 45 % towards the end of the century. R K Chaturvedi of the Indian Institute of Science cautioned that the projections for the forestry sector were made using a climate model that does not take into account certain features of Indian forests.
“Greenhouse Gases are warming the World—but chilling Antarctica. Here’s why”
The greenhouse gases that are warming the globe actually cool Antarctica much of the year, a new study confirms. The odd trend doesn’t break the laws of physics, but it does highlight what a strange place Earth’s southernmost continent truly is.
Antarctica is home to many extremes. It’s the world’s highest continent, with an average elevation just a shade under 2300 meters. And despite its ice, it’s technically a desert thanks to a paucity of precipitation. This lack of moisture is one of the key factors behind the region’s “negative greenhouse effect,” says Sergio Sejas, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, who led a newly published investigation of this atmospheric quirk.
Cool greenhouse gases high in Earth’s atmosphere typically trap heat by absorbing infrared radiation emitted by our planet’s warm surface before it reaches space. Thanks to its release by many human activities, carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the most notorious of these planet-warming gases, but water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas, too. It is abundant in the atmosphere, giving it a much stronger overall warming effect. And when water vapor is scarce, as it is above central Antarctica, the continent’s greenhouse effect goes topsy-turvy, Sejas says. Add to it another weather phenomenon called a temperature inversion, where the atmosphere warms as altitude increases, rather than growing colder, and things truly start to go awry.
“Antarctica is the only place in the world where the surface is colder than the stratosphere,” says Justus Notholt, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Bremen in Germany. The continent’s surface temperatures are typically 20°C colder than the temperature a few hundred meters up in the atmosphere, he explains.
The persistent temperature inversion causes high-altitude greenhouse gases to actually emit more heat to space than they trap, Sejas says. Recent studies identified this negative greenhouse gas effect over Antarctica, but those analyses typically looked at the effect only in terms of CO2, Sejas notes. So he and his colleagues analyzed how water vapor might contribute to the cooling effect.
In general, CO2 is thoroughly mixed throughout the atmosphere. Because of this, Sejas and his colleagues found, some of the heat radiated toward space by CO2 at low altitude in Antarctica still ends up getting trapped by the gas at higher altitude. But that’s not true for water vapor, the researchers report this month in npj Climate and Atmospheric Science. Although there’s very little water vapor over Antarctica at low altitude, there’s even less in the overlying stratosphere, Sejas says. Any heat radiated toward space by low-altitude water vapor keeps on going as if the continent’s heat-trapping comforter had been ripped away in the middle of the night. This negative greenhouse effect is in effect about 9 months out of the year, the team reports.
“I like how the team’s analysis breaks down the effect” between CO2 and water vapor, says Karen Smith, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Toronto in Canada who is unaffiliated with the study. That approach clearly highlights what makes Antarctica unique, she adds.
Unfortunately, adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere won’t strengthen Antarctica’s negative greenhouse effect, Sejas says. A warming world will, in fact, boost the amount of water vapor in the stratosphere globally, eventually rendering the continent as susceptible to greenhouse warming as the rest of the planet.
Annual Green House Gas Emission by Economic Sectors (Tentative Data):
Power Stations = 25%
Industrial Processes = 21%
Agricultural, Forestry and Other Land use = 24%
Residential, Commercial and other sources = 6%
Transportation Fuels = ~14%
Other Energy = 10%
The given data reiterates the relevance of the theme of the conference, adding more dimensions to the discussions at the conference’s academic pedestal.