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70% chances of occurrence of El Nino in 2015

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has said that the chances of El Nino weather phenomenon occurring in 2015 have increased to 70% from 50%.

El Nino is a temporary change in the climate of the Pacific ocean, in the region around the equator. Its effects can be seen in both the ocean and atmosphere, generally in Northern Hemisphere winter. Typically, the ocean surface warms up by a few degrees Celsius. At the same time, the place where hefty thunderstorms occur on the equator moves eastward. Although those might seem like small differences, it nevertheless can have a big impact on the world’s climate.

A statement issued by the bureau on April 14th said that, “The ENSO Tracker has been raised to El Nino Alert, indicating at least a 70% chance of El Nino occurring this year.”

It was also revealed in the statement that all the international climate models observed by the bureau signify that El Nino thresholds will be reached or exceeded by June.

“Tropical Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures are now just shy of El Nino levels. Large areas of warmer-than-average water below the surface are likely to keep these waters warm for some time. This increases the odds of atmospheric factors coming into play, and hence further warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean,” the statement said.

However, it is expected that April to June will be wetter than average across much of Australia owing to warm conditions in the Indian Ocean.

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Researchers found a new Drug to Reduce Alcohol Addiction in Teenagers

The drug is (+)-Naltrexone can reduce the drinking habit in teenagers.

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A new drug can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers
A new drug can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers. Pixabay
  • Researchers have found a new drug that may eventually help to reduce alcohol addiction in adults who used to binge during their adolescent years.

A new drug found which can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers

“During our teen years, the brain is still in a relatively immature state. Binge drinking worsens this situation, as alcohol undermines the normal developmental processes that affect how our brain matures,” said lead author Jon Jacobsen, a Ph.D. student at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

“Therefore, when an adolescent who has been binge drinking becomes an adult, they’re often left with an immature brain, which assists in the development of alcohol dependence,” Jacobsen added.

For the study, published in the Journal Neuropharmacology, researchers observed that adolescent mice involved in binge drinking behavior developed an increased sensitivity to alcohol as adults and engaged in further binge drinking.

The researchers were able to prevent some of these detrimental behaviors observed in adulthood, by giving mice a drug that blocks a specific response from the immune system in the brain.

The drug is (+)-Naltrexone, known to block the immune receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4).

“This drug effectively switched off the impulse in mice to binge drink. The mice were given this drug still sought out alcohol, but their level of drinking was greatly reduced,” says senior author Professor Mark Hutchinson, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at the University of Adelaide.

“We’re excited by the finding that we can potentially block binge drinking in an adult after they have experienced such behavior during adolescence, by stopping the activation of the brain’s immune system. It’s the first time this has been shown and gives us hope that our work has implications for the eventual treatment of alcohol addiction in adults,” Hutchinson noted.(IANS)

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Incessant Rain Brings North East India to a halt, badly affects normal life

Officials of India Meteorological Department (IMD) predict that due to the depression, the rains accompanied by a light squall would continue till Sunday.

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Low lying areas, patches of roads, paddy fields and several houses have been inundated by the rain water in Tripura. VOA

Guwahati, October 22, 2017 : Normal life was badly affected in most parts of the northeastern region due to the incessant rains since Thursday due to a hyperactive depression in the Bay of Bengal, officials said.

Officials of India Meteorological Department (IMD) predict that due to the depression, the rains accompanied by a light squall would continue till Sunday.

Low lying areas, patches of roads, paddy fields and several houses were inundated by the rain water in Tripura.

Incessant rainfall also continued in different parts of Assam on Saturday, with brief intervals at some places since Friday evening dampening the festive spirit.

An official of the Tripura Disaster Control Centre said though the water level in most of rivers in Tripura is heavily increased, they are flowing below the danger level.

ALSO READ Exclusive : Our Islands Are Vanishing! | Tracing the Inundation of Parali I Island

Tripura Revenue and Relief Minister Badal Choudhury and Urban Development Minister Manik Dey, accompanied by officials, visited some rain affected areas and assessed to take some future measures to check inundation of water.

The IMD office in Agartala recorded 157 mm rainfall since Friday morning.

“A light to moderate rain occurred at most places over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura with isolated heavy rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura along with isolated very heavy rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and light rain occurred at most places over Nagaland during the last 24 hours,” said a senior official of the Regional Meteorological Centre at Guwahati on Saturday.

“Heavy and very heavy rain fall at isolated places were predicted over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya on Sunday too,” he said. (IANS)

 

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Monsoon Bliss: Drenched in Rain Kutch is a Must Visit (Environmental Feature)

The monsoon brings out a different facet of Kutch, the brown transforms into green

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Rann Utsav in Kutch. Pixabay

Bhuj, Sep 09, 2017: White, fluffy clouds hanging low over green hills, little pools of still water teeming with migratory birds and an omnipresent cool breeze — the semi-arid region of Kutch in Gujarat transforms into a completely different avatar during the monsoon.

And although winter — the time detailed as “ideal” to visit this region — shows you a side of hers that’s truly unique, Kutch makes for a pretty picture during the rains, perfect for a rejuvenating holiday.

Nestling on the country’s western border, close to the Arabian Sea, Kutch had recently been in the news for the cyclonic storm-induced thundershowers that lasted five days. Before that, and like the rest of the state, floods had also hit the region in July.

“Heavy showers are normal during the monsoon,” local taxi driver and long-time Bhuj resident Anwar Khatri said, indicating that the heavy rainfall was not out-of-the-ordinary. “But in the last three-four years, we have had very scanty rainfall. The monsoon brings out a different facet of Kutch, the brown transforms into green.”

Kutch occupies an important geographical location when it comes to birds, said ornithologist Jugal Kishor Tiwari, since it falls on their migration route. His organisation, Centre for Desert and Ocean (CEDO), works on wildlife conservation and promotes nature tourism.

And although the winter is a brilliant time to spot a host of migratory birds, one can indulge in some bird-watching during the monsoon as well. CEDO, which is based out of Moti Virani village, some 400 km from Gujarat capital Gandhinagar, organises tailor-made tours of such nature.

A visit to Kutch would however be incomplete without witnessing its rich treasure trove of handicrafts. Ajrakh (block printing), camel leather craft, Bandhni, different forms of weaving, bellmetal craft, Kutch embroidery — the list is endless — and nothing beats the wonder of watching an artisan work on his or her craft.

After the devastating earthquake in 2001, several NGOs took up the initiative of supporting artisans and their art, even reviving some, and helping them find suitable markets to showcase and sell their products beyond the state’s and the nation’s borders.

There are many such NGOs within a radius of 10-15 kilometres from Bhuj — the point you will either fly down to or reach by train — and one can visit their campuses to see some of these exquisite crafts take shape and understand the story behind them from the artisans themselves. Some names to look out for would be Shrujan, Khamir, and LLDC (Living and Learning Design Centre).

About eight kilometres from Bhuj is a village called Bhujodi, which has the Ashapura Crafts Park set up for artisans to display and sell their work. Again, one can meet weavers, tie-dye artists, block printers and others here. Needless to say, it will leave you wanting for more shopping bags to fill!

From the well-known to the lesser known — a monsoon visit to Kutch would also remain wanting without a trip to one of its pristine beaches. Mandvi is the closest to Bhuj and there are many resorts close by with their own private beach enclosures. The high point of the beaches here — Pingleshwar, about 98 km from Bhuj, a hidden gem — is witnessing the marine life. Jelly fish and hermit crabs are a common sight and the multi-coloured sea weeds look extraordinary.

Also Read: History of Rigvedic river Saraswati

If the children are more in the mood for some fun and frolic, Mandvi has ample opportunity for water sports as well — which may be restricted when the weather is grey. But a ride on a camel would more than compensate for that!

With the temperature hovering on the pleasant side of the scale and a constant breeze, one can also opt for some historical sight-seeing. The Aina Mahal, with its blue tiles, Venetian-style chandeliers and walls studded with mirrors, is a must-visit. Next door is the 19th century Prag Mahal, a brilliant example of Italian-Gothic architecture.

As you travel around the place and move on the fringes of the main town of Bhuj, it is difficult to miss the vast expanses of agricultural land with acres after acres of pomegranate plantations, palm groves and cotton fields — all this thanks to drip-irrigation, which has brought about a sea-change in the region’s crop pattern. With the green hills in the backdrop, it’s a sight to behold. Soak it in, for, with the changing season, Kutch will soon reveal a different face. (IANS)