Climate Change : Treaties related to Global Warming

                    International Undertakings to mitigate Global Warming
Climate Change and Global Warming are matters which are discussed and being sorted out in every forum. It is an International awakening. Every community and nation needs to come forward to mitigate the adversaries being spread by this phenomenon. Both, Global Warming and Climate Change, are related and are being dealt with subsequently.

Global warming is a multifaceted crisis, which, is not only environmental in nature, but costs all spheres of existence on this planet. It is either affected by– or affects– global issues, like poverty, population growth, economic development, resource management and sustainable development. (Read more about Social impact of Global Warming)

The most important aspect about mitigating Global Warming lies with the reduction of emissions. The governments of the various nations are immensely worried about this and have come under common discussions to resolve this problem. It is necessary for all of us to pay heed to it and be a part of the efforts that are being taken at global level.
Few Global Warming International Conventions that have taken place:
  • Kyoto Protocol
  • UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)
  • Paris Climate Deal

Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto Protocol is carrying forward the legacy of 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This protocol came into being in Kyoto, Japan on 11th December, 1997. It was enforced on 16th February, 2005. There are 192 member nations which have taken to this protocol making it a global initiative to mitigate the effects and adversities of global warming. Canada was one nation which withdrew from this treaty in December, 2012. It was then made obligatory for state parties to commit to work on the reduction of Greenhouse Gases on the pretext that:
  • Global Warming exists,
  • Man – made CO2 is causing it.
This protocol speaks of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. It implements the goal to fight global warming by cutting down the greenhouse gas present in the air. The gases should be cut down to such a level that it will prevent harmful human intervention with the climatic setup of the environment. It enforces the developed nations to cut down on the greenhouse gas emissions and also look for more conventional sources of energy with the outlook of sustainable development. The developed nations have been asked to cut down emissions as they are believed to have caused the present scenario of extreme emissions from historical times.

UNFCCC

This convention of United Nations about Climate Change provides us with a framework. This convention was enforced on 21st March, 1994. It shows us how the Intergovernmental efforts can help us tackle all the adversities that are prevailing due to climate change and global warming. Climate is a universal factor and a shared resource. Affecting the climate can influence the well being of the whole system completely. The stability of climatic conditions can be influenced by industrial emissions, vehicular emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gases. This convention is quite popular and almost has universal membership of all the nation states throughout the globe.

There are guidelines which are provided to all the governments through this convention. The member nations are supposed to share and gather the necessary information about the greenhouse gases, their emissions, national policies and their best practices. They will launch various national level strategies to address the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. They will need to adapt to the expected impacts which include the provisions of financial and technology based support to developing member nations. The convention also enforces them to cooperate to prepare to adapt to the forthcoming impacts of climate change and side by side global warming too.

Paris Agreement

This Climate Conference abbreviated as COP21 was held in Paris on December 2015. This agreement will be enforced only in 2020. There were around 195 member states who had participated for this legally binding global climate deal. It was the first of its kind in which everyone has agreed to put in their best efforts and follow by this agreement with international obligations to be followed. This agreement has set a standard of global action plan. This obligation mainly concentrates on putting the world on track by avoiding dangerous climate change and global warming effects through reduction and limiting of global warming before it exceeds 2°C increase in temperature.

Read more about What is Global Dimming and its causes

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What is Global Dimming ?

Global Dimming v/s Global Warming

Global Dimming is something people are totally unaware of. But it is something that needs an equal attention just as much as Global Warming (Read more about Global Warming and reasons leading to Global warming).

Global dimming is the slow and gradual reduction in the amount of direct global irradiance that is reaching the earth’s surface. In simple terms Global dimming refers to the reduction in direct sunlight reaching the surface of earth due to air pollution. It is a phenomenon that has been observed since the 1950s which has been concluded thus through systematic measurements. The causal effects have mostly been location based but it is observed as a worldwide phenomenon. But the observations have shown that there has been a reduction of around almost 4% in the thirty years from 1960 – 1990. This trend that was observed was slightly perturbed by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo volcano in the year 1991 which reversed this.

As goes by the word of ‘dimming’ it means something completely opposite of ‘warming’. It is the phenomenon responsible for letting the temperatures still being in control even when Global Warming has taken its own toll on the climatic phenomenon all over the world. Global Dimming is the answer to all the questions about the freaks of nature and the entire unnatural phenomenon that we might observe in our weather. Global dimming is exactly the opposite of Global Warming. Global dimming has influenced and interfered with the hydrological cycle causing total disruption in the normal functioning of this system. It has led to reduction in evaporation which has consequently affected the amount of precipitation in many areas. This has caused cooling effect which has counteracted upon the heightened effects of global warming caused by greenhouse gases (Read more about Greenhouse Gases and their sources).

The very reason that Global Dimming is the other side of the coin for Global Warming is that the factors which cause global warming are responsible for causing global dimming as well. Aerosols that lead to trapping of the greenhouse gases and then making the atmosphere warmer also makes the incoming solar radiations reflect back into the atmosphere and thus reducing the solar radiation lessen reaching the earth surface. It is thought that the particulate materials like sulfate aerosols that are produced by the anthropogenic reasons are the factors leading to cause global dimming. Had it not been because of global dimming being able to exist on earth for global warming would have been impossible.

Causes and Effects of Global Dimming


Global Dimming is believed to have been caused due to the increased presence of aerosol particles which has increased in the atmosphere due to the incautious anthropogenic actions.

The cycle of Global Dimming starts as the aerosols and other Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) absorb the solar irradiation & energy and reflect this sunlight back into outer space again.
This way the direct solar irradiance is hindered to enter the earth’s atmosphere. These ‘SPMs’ sometimes become nuclei for cloud droplets in which water in the clouds then coalesce around these particles. With the increasing pollution in the world this particulate matter is prevailing more in the atmosphere. These are creating more clouds which consist of a larger number of smaller droplets. This causes the same amount of water to be distributed among more number of particulate materials. These smaller droplets are more reflective in nature. They reflect back the incoming solar radiation into space and lesser amount is able to reach the Earth’s surface thus.

Even in the lower atmosphere this process takes place causing reflections and consequently smaller droplets invariably to reduce the amount of rainfall.Clouds act as an intercept for trapping the heat that is radiated from the earth and also the incoming solar radiation.This effect is complex which is variable as per the location, time as well as the altitude. As during the daytime the incoming solar radiation is intercepted more there is a predominance of this phenomenon during this time causing relative cooling.

Whereas, at night the re-radiation of heat from the earth’s surface getting trapped helps in maintaining the heat balance which might have fallen drastically without it.

Throughout this whole discussion it might be obvious that global dimming is the solution to global warming. But think again! The particulate matter that is causing global dimming is inversely responsible for global warming as well. The only solution to both is the reduction of aerosol particles itself and thus gaining back the originality of the climatic system and restoring is to its previous form.

Read More:
Social effects of Global warming
Environmental impact of Climate Change


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GIS and Natural Resource Management

Geographical information systems (GIS) have an imperative role to play in natural resources (NR) research to support rural livelihoods, in exacting, and pro-poor development more generally.

INTRODUCTION
Before proceeding, first let us see what do we mean by Natural resource?
Natural = Ordinary; Resource = supply or reserve. We characterise sunlight, atmosphere, water, land, minerals, vegetation and animal life that co-exist on or within the earth as naturally occurring materials or resources.

A natural resource may be a collective unit such as fresh water, and air or individually countable as a living organism such as a fish, rodent etc. It may also exist in a form which must be processed to obtain the resource such as metal ores, mineral oil, and most forms of energy.
The economic, social and cultural feasibility of any nation is mainly determined by the land and water resources that it has. These natural resources are crucial to the economy of a nation since they play a vital role in the stipulation of employment, they are a source of raw materials for various industries, act as a source of food and income, medicine as well as energy. The artistic beauty that relates to natural resources is always regarded as the civilising illustration of nations.

Major application of GIS :NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
  • Agriculture: Land Conservation, Farm Planning, Precision Farming.
  • Forestry: Timber assessment management, harvest scheduling and planning, forest planning and environmental impact assessment, pest management.
  • Wild Life: Habitat assessment and management, rare species studies.
  • Geology and Mining: Geologic hazard mapping, oil, gas and mineral studies, open pit mine design.
  • Watershed Management: Guidelines for Regulations.

So the above mentioned are some of the application of GIS in the field of natural resources. But it is said that nothing comes for free. So there are some current problems which we are facing in this area (Natural Resource). So let’s see one by one what the problems are:

Current Problems in Natural Resource Management
  • Habitat loss/endangered/exotic species
  • Unsustainable resource use/extraction
  • Terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric pollution
  • Climate change
  • Population growth

Role of GIS in Natural Resource Management

As we know GIS is a powerful analytical tool and in natural resource management, GIS is mainly used in the Mapping Process. These technologies can be used to develop a variety of maps. These are:
  • Land Cover Maps
  • Vegetation Maps
  • Soil Maps
  • Geology Maps

Now before developing these maps, we need variety of data to be collected and analysed. These data are collected with the help of the remote sensing technologies, by various methods like Aerial Photography, Ground Photographs. Or satellite Photographs of the particular study area. These Photographs usually depend on the topography of the area and the aim of the study. Like, Aerial Photograph is useful when we need the information regarding spatial data within intervals (hours, days, and seasons). Likewise, Satellite Photographs are also useful in collection of data, but satellite data is superior to aerial, as they have better Resolution (Spectral, Spatial, Radiometric and Temporal). Hence satellite images give us detailed information and lot of data can be extracted from them.

Ground authentication of the collected data is a vital method. To ensure that it is carried out in the most efficient and competent manner, the study area is usually separated into quadrants or transects. This is done to make sure that the interpreted elements of the satellite data be conventional to the ground description. The data that is collected on the ground is geo-referenced with the help of a GPS to ensure that its matching location can be precisely recognised in the images that were collected earlier. Moreover, field points recognised in the images are visited to verify information regarding the state of the vegetation, geomorphology, topography, soils, and so on. By means of using the pre-field map that was generated, information from ground authentication procedure and any other secondary source that might have been used, the final map is usually equipped.

Conclusion
With the increase in demands on Natural Resource due to mounting human population, remote sensing and GIS can be used to manage these limited resources in an effectual and competent manner. Geospatial data are effective in the analysis and purpose of factors that affect the utilisation of these resources. Thus, with the perceptive of these factors, sound decision can be achieved to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources to meet the needs of present generation as well as that of the future.

Read More:
Geographical Information System in Transportation Planning
What is GIS and How Does it Work?
Environmental Impacts of Global Warming

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GIS: Application of GIS in Transportation

Not many of us are not aware so as to how GIS (Geographical information System) is widely used in fields of Transportation and Logistics (Read more: What is a GIS and how does it work? Applications of GIS) . How can GIS help us work with real time information and solve any problem relating to routing and navigation?

What if we have information relating to route planning, shortest route detection and alternate routes? Our lives will be much more organised with these things available in hand. Traffic Management, will be much simpler and route planning will be helpful in case of any disaster.

Geographic Information Systems for Transportation (GIS-T) refers to the principles and applications of applying geographic information technologies to transportation problems.

A real time information need to be fed to the GIS application (software) and based on this, the tool gives us information of whatever query we need to solve. For example in simple case when all the data related to number of houses in particular locality, its area and road network is given we can compute the shortest route for a fire brigade for that area also location of a fire station can be estimated based on the information provided.

Transportation professionals all over the world have discovered and applied GIS as an important tool in, planning, evaluating, and managing transportation systems.
It is widely used in:

  • Aviation: By combining IT and spatial information, aviation has used GIS in many ways. With cost effective, web based platform it is easy to link the real time information and also carry out planning and managing operation. For example Manchester airport is planning to invest in implementing GIS to map and record asset information in one central database, to be shared between departments. Multiple layers of information will be accessible on a map, enabling airports to visualise any and all requirements. Thus, helping in optimum airport management and to streamline the information efficiently.
  • Public Transport: With everything getting “smarter” and” better” , people are more inclined towards having a transport system which is systematic and organised. Today GPS/GNSS is working a great deal with Geographic Information System to enable good transport facility to the people. In India, GPS embedded transport facility along with Web application and spatial information is doing well, both in public and private sectors. It is time saving as well as cost-effective. Arc GIS Network Analyst now provide transportation network model, so that one can plan their routes and maximise the value of their resources with the click of a button.
  • Logistics: Logistics involves the flow of goods and information from one point to another but optimised routing is more than just getting from point A to point B. Today many businesses carry their operations at geographically dispersed locations and hence there is a need for analysis and modelling of routing and location. GIS technology gives the capability to analyse streets and demographic data and retail store locations to provide first-class service to the customer while developing opportunities. Information can be shared to reduce redundancy in marketing and increases employee efficiency.
  • Ports and Maritime: It is important to have complete information about the current port conditions. GIS helps in maximising investment and the use of resources and through assessment of deterioration pattern and risk of ports. It can be a support system in :
  1. Infrastructure building and Planning(Port Design)
  2. Storm Water Management
  3. Spill Response and Management
  4. Real-Time Vehicle Location
  5. Bathymetric data used for further application.
  • Railways: GIS is extensively used in Railways and the aspiring developers of GIS promise to provide a solution based technology to manage assets, maximise throughput and provides monitory safety for passengers.
    For example Bulgarian Railway Network Management used GIS to form a system that provides access to data about the railway network and helps to improve the railway structure management. GIS has been extensively used to monitor and evaluate sites and infrastructure facilities to integrate staff responsibilities and address different strategic and operational tasks.

Thus, this form of information system is every widely used in all developed countries to efficiently managing resource and investment activities. Transport is one such sector where its scope is ever increasing. With the advent of GPS and its combination with Geographical information System it has become one of the aspiring areas for research and development.

Read More:
Why Climate Change Is a Social Issue
Where do greenhouse gases come from?
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Black Box Insurance
Telematics Explained - What is Telematics?

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What is a GIS and how does it work? Applications of GIS

So today let’s talk about a very unique and interesting field of study called GIS. Well most people draw a blank when the name “GIS” or “GEOINGORMATICS” or Geographic Information System comes up. But faces light up with interest when we talk about Google Maps or GPS enabled cabs (like Ola, Uber,etc).

Basically GIS connects DATA & GEOGRAPHY.Do you remember doing map-pointing in school days? That was a task..phew! It’s REALLY hard to visualise the exact locations of latitudes and longitudes coordinates given to you on a spreadsheet or a paper. But as soon as you add these positions on a map, it’s like magic to the reader. I think you’ll agree. Everyone knows that maps make geographic information easier to understand. You understand what belongs where. Because you don’t fully understand your data until you see how it is related to other things.

Long story short, GIS really comes down to just 4 simple ideas :
GIS is a technology, a system that Creates geographic data, Manages it, and Analyzes it and… Displays it on a map.

It needs 4 things:
  • HARDWARE - your computer
  • SOFTWARE – the OS of your computer and other GIS software like ArcGIS, QGIS, etc. help in such tasks.
  • DATA - spatial (location data- latitude and longitude) and attribute (tabular data format) data.
  • PEOPLE – we who will work on it.

But you might be wondering: Why use GIS? Is it necessary?

GIS is a shift that has brought into scenario the commencement of digital maps and out-dating of paper maps. All the data are now stored in the computer system where mapping is performed. And why do we need that? Ok here’s a situation: there are 10 maps depicting soil profile, agriculture distribution, rainfall, forest, transport systems etc. and we need to overlap few of them to draw a connection.
 Remember the movie “JOURNEY TO THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND”? There Dwayne Johnson (Hank) keeps 3 maps (drawn on tracing paper) on top of each other under the light to form a connection of a place. So now if we want to do the same with 10 maps won’t we get confused? Yes we will. Here GIS plays a role. It can add or subtract thousands of map layers with whatever combination the user wants to: you can combine soil with agriculture layer, transport with settlement layer, etc.

In a nutshell benefits of GIS are:
  • Better decision making
  • Improved communications
  • Cost Savings from Greater Efficiency
  • Better record keeping

APPLICATIONS of GIS

Round table conference problems of our planet are best understood spatially – climate change, natural disasters, population dynamics and myriad others. How much forest is in a city boundary? How many endangered species are within 1 mile proximity of a proposed mine? How do you solve such problems in a GIS? The answer is through spatial analysis. Spatial analysis gives an insight to comprehending relationships between spatial and attribute data. So from pinpointing new store locations, to predicting climate change, to reporting power outages, to crime mapping, to waste management, GIS can solve anything and everything because geographic problems require spatial thinking.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A CAREER IN GIS?

If you thought a career in GIS meant only making maps, you’d be wrong.From planning a pipeline, navigating ships… to fighting wild forest fires… Spatial problems require spatial thinking. This is why GIS has expanded into countless disciplines.Tech-savvy employers expect the complete package of GIS skills. From remote sensing, programming surveying, database management to web development… The most successful GIS professionals build their careers with multiple skill sets.

Read More
Environmental effects of Global Warming
Social Impact of Global Warming and climate change
What is causing global warming?
Types of Greenhouse Gases and where they come from


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