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Water Management can Blunt Impact of Climate Change and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Water management can blunt the impact of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming

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Water, Management, Climate
FILE - A lesser adjutant stork looks for fish in a wetland in Pobitora wildlife sanctuary, on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, Dec. 20, 2018. VOA

Water management can blunt the impact of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming, reports UN-Water, an agency that works on water and sanitation issues.

About 90 percent of all major natural disasters are water-related, according to the United Nations. Floods, storms, heat waves, droughts and other water-related events are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, as well as economic losses that run into hundreds of billions of dollars.

UN-Water spokeswoman Daniella Bostrom Couffe says while water management can be used to mitigate the effects of climate change, the measures are largely overlooked.

“Water is not gaining that much political attention just because it is something that we all take for granted,” she said. “And, of course, we would all like to see more attention both from the public and from political decision makers about this.”

Water, Management, Climate
FILE – Islanders work on weeding and cleaning a wetland at Easter Island, Chile, Feb. 1, 2019. VOA

A recent UN-Water report cites a number of strategies for managing climate and water in a coordinated and sustainable manner. One focuses on reviving Earth’s disappearing wetlands.

Couffe notes about two-thirds of natural wetlands are vanishing because of factors including agriculture, drainage, and mining for fuel. That, she says, results in the release of massive amounts of carbon.

“Wetlands … cover about 3 percent of the Earth,” she said. “But they hold twice as much carbon as all the Earth’s forests together. So, by restoring these wetlands, that is a very effective way to limit the effects of climate change.”

UN-Water reports harmful emissions can be reduced by making water supplies more sustainable. It notes 123 countries are implementing solutions by sharing aquifers, and rivers and basins, which affect around 40 percent of the world’s population.

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The agency says lower income populations are disproportionately affected by climate change, and must be helped through targeted strategies from the richer countries that produce most of the damaging carbon. (VOA)

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Mars Losing Water Faster Than Expectations of The Scientists

The ExoMars rover will travel across the Martian surface to search for signs of life

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Mars
Mars today is cold and dry – a desert world -- but dry river valleys and lakebeds suggest that water covered much of the Red Planet billions of years ago. Previous research has also found that Martian water mostly escaped into space. Pixabay

Mars may have been a place brimming with water in the form of seas, lakes and rivers once but all of that evaporated into space as researchers now report that the Red Planet is losing water faster than expected.

Mars today is cold and dry – a desert world — but dry river valleys and lakebeds suggest that water covered much of the Red Planet billions of years ago. Previous research has also found that Martian water mostly escaped into space.

The gradual disappearance of the water occurs when sunlight and chemistry turn water molecules into the hydrogen and oxygen atoms that they are made up of. When they are broken down, Mars’s weak gravity is unable to keep hold of them and they disappear off into space, according to the study, published in the journal Science.

In the new study, an international research team, led partly by Franck Montmessin from French National Centre for Scientific Research in France, revealed that water vapour is accumulating in large quantities and unexpected proportions at an altitude of over 80 km in the Martian atmosphere.

The development was spotted using the Trace Gas Orbiter probe that was sent to the Red planet on board the ExoMars (Exploration of Mars) mission, run by the European Space Agency (ESA) and its Russian counterpart Roscosmos.

Measurements showed that large atmospheric pockets are even in a state of supersaturation, with the atmosphere containing 10 to 100 times more water vapour than its temperature should theoretically allow.

“With the observed supersaturation rates, the capacity of water to escape would greatly increase during certain seasons,” the authors wrote. The researchers point out that seasonal changes were the key factors behind how water vapour was distributed in the Martian atmosphere.

Mars
Mars may have been a place brimming with water in the form of seas, lakes and rivers once but all of that evaporated into space as researchers now report that the Red Planet is losing water faster than expected. Pixabay

The 2020 mission of the ExoMars programme will deliver a European rover and a Russian surface platform to the surface of Mars. A Proton rocket will be used to launch the mission, which will arrive to Mars after a nine-month journey.

The ExoMars rover will travel across the Martian surface to search for signs of life.

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It will collect samples with a drill and analyse them with next-generation instruments. ExoMars will be the first mission to combine the capability to move across the surface and to study Mars at depth. (IANS)