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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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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)