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Cabinet condoles Kalam’s death, says India lost a great son

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New Delhi: The union cabinet on Tuesday expressed sorrow at the death of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and in a resolution passed at a special cabinet meeting said “in his passing away the country has lost a visionary scientist, a true nationalist and a great son”. 56762-1654557

The cabinet met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and extended its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family on behalf of the government and the entire nation.

“Kalam made significant contribution in developing India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle and made India an exclusive member of Space Club. Popularly known as the ‘Missile Man of India’, Kalam was responsible for the development and operationalisation of AGNI and PRITHVI Missiles. He gave thrust to self-reliance in defence systems by introducing Light Combat Aircraft,” the resolution said.

It said that he was the scientific adviser to defence minister and secretary, department of defence research and development during 1992-99.

“During this period, strategic missile systems were developed and the Pokhran-II nuclear tests were conducted. Kalam had served as the principal scientific advisor to the government, from 1999 to 2001 and was responsible for evolving policies, strategies and missions for many development applications and piloted India Millennium Mission 2020,” it added.

The former president died in Shillong on Monday evening after collapsing during a lecture at the IIM-Shillong.

He was born on October 15, 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, and specialized in aeronautical engineering from Madras Institute of Technology.

In his literary pursuit, his books – “Wings of Fire”, “India 2020 – A Vision for the New Millennium”, “My journey” and “Ignited Minds – Unleashing the power within India” became household names in India and abroad, the resolution said.

It added that Kalam was passionate about transforming society through technology, in particular by inspiring the youth of India to harness science and technology for human welfare.

Kalam was the recipient of many national and international awards including honorary doctorates from 48 universities from India and abroad. He received the country’s highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, in 1997.

“Eventually, from a very humble beginning, he rose to the highest office of the country and served as the 11th president of India from 2002 to 2007. During his tenure, he was affectionately known as the People’s President,” it said.

(IANS)

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Scientist Who Coined the Term ‘Global Warming’ Dies at 87

"His discoveries were fundamental to interpreting Earth's climate history," said Oppenheimer.

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Scientist, Global Warming
FILE - U.S. professor Wallace Broecker poses during a meeting at the Lincei Academy where he is receiving the Balzan 2008 Award in Rome, Nov. 21, 2008. VOA

A scientist who raised early alarms about climate change and popularized the term “global warming” has died. Wallace Smith Broecker was 87.

The longtime Columbia University professor and researcher died Monday at a New York City hospital, according to a spokesman for the university’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Kevin Krajick said Broecker had been ailing in recent months.

Broecker brought “global warming” into common use with a 1975 article that correctly predicted rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere would lead to pronounced warming. He later became the first person to recognize what he called the Ocean Conveyor Belt, a global network of currents affecting everything from air temperature to rain patterns.

“Wally was unique, brilliant and combative,” said Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer. “He wasn’t fooled by the cooling of the 1970s. He saw clearly the unprecedented warming now playing out and made his views clear, even when few were willing to listen.”

In the Ocean Conveyor Belt, cold, salty water in the North Atlantic sinks, working like a plunger to drive an ocean current from near North America to Europe. Warm surface waters borne by this current help keep Europe’s climate mild.

Otherwise, he said, Europe would be a deep freeze, with average winter temperatures dropping by 20 degrees Fahrenheit or more and London feeling more like Spitsbergen, Norway, which is 600 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Broecker said his studies suggested that the conveyor is the “Achilles heel of the climate system” and a fragile phenomenon that can change rapidly for reasons not understood. It would take only a slight rise in temperature to keep water from sinking in the North Atlantic, he said, and that would bring the conveyor to a halt. Broecker said it is possible that warming caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases could be enough to affect the ocean currents dramatically.

Scientists, Global Warming
FILE – Climate scientist Wally Broecker of New York’s Columbia University addresses the audience during the Rome ceremony at which he was awarded a Balzan Prize for outstanding scientific achievement, Nov. 21, 2008. VOA

“Broecker single-handedly popularized the notion that this could lead to a dramatic climate change ‘tipping point’ and, more generally, Broecker helped communicate to the public and policymakers the potential for abrupt climate changes and unwelcome ‘surprises’ as a result of climate change,” said Penn State professor Michael Mann.

In 1984, Broecker told a House subcommittee that the buildup of greenhouse gases warranted a “bold, new national effort aimed at understanding the operation of the realms of the atmosphere, oceans, ice and terrestrial biosphere.”

“We live in a climate system that can jump abruptly from one state to another,” Broecker told the Associated Press in 1997. By dumping into the atmosphere huge amounts of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, “we are conducting an experiment that could have devastating effects.”

“We’re playing with an angry beast — a climate system that has been shown to be very sensitive,” he said.

Broecker received the National Medal of Science in 1996 and was a member of the National Academy of Science. He also served a stint as the research coordinator for Biosphere 2, an experimental living environment turned research lab.

Broecker was born in Chicago in 1931 and grew up in suburban Oak Park.

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He joined Columbia’s faculty in 1959, spending most of his time at the university’s laboratory in Palisades, New York. He was known in science circles as the “Grandfather of Climate Science” and the “Dean of Climate Scientists.”

“His discoveries were fundamental to interpreting Earth’s climate history,” said Oppenheimer. “No scientist was more stimulating to engage with: he was an instigator in a good way, willing to press unpopular ideas, like lofting particles to offset climate change. But it was always a two-way conversation, never dull, always educational. I’ll miss him.” (VOA)