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Monday, April 25, 2011

Ozone hole blamed for increased rainfall in Australia

Up to 35 per cent more: Study; International climate talks must address impact, researcher says


By MARGARET MUNRO, Postmedia News April 25, 2011 4:04 AM


A Canada-U.S. study, described as a "game changer" for climate science, says Australia can blame its increased rainfall on the Antarctic ozone hole.
The hole has had a profound impact on the Southern Hemisphere, altering the climate all the way to the equator, changing wind patterns and increasing rain in southern Australia by about 35 per cent, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.
"It's somewhat like a domino effect, one change leads to another," said Michael Sigmond, a climate scientist at the University of Toronto. He co-wrote the report with researchers at Environment Canada and Columbia University in New York.
The study's impact could - and should - be felt at international climate talks, say the researchers.
"This could be a real game changer," co-author Lorenzo Polvani, from Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said in a news release.
He said international agreements about mitigating climate change should not be confined to carbon alone, adding that ozone deserves more attention from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
"The ozone hole is not even mentioned in the summary for policy-makers issued with the last IPCC report," Polvani said. "We show in this study that it has large and farreaching impacts. The ozone hole is a big player in the climate system."
Sigmond agreed the ozone hole deserves more IPCC attention. "After all, the Antarctic ozone hole is found to be the dominant driver of observed changes in the summertime weather patterns in the Southern Hemisphere, from the Pole all the way to the tropics," he said.
The ozone layer is several kilometres above Earth's surface and absorbs harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun that can trigger cancer and damage plants. The Antarctic ozone hole was caused by widespread use of chemicals containing chlorofluorocarbons during the second half of the 20th century. CFC chemicals have been phased out, and the hole is expected to close over the next 50 years as CFCs disappear from the atmosphere.
The researchers used two climate models to assess the hole's impact - one on Environment Canada's supercomputer and the other at the U.S. National Center For Atmospheric Research.
"The beauty of these models is you can change one component of the atmosphere and see what happens," Sigmond said.
Both models show the same impacts of the ozone hole, and the results fit with climate changes that have been seen in the Southern Hemisphere since the hole formed almost three decades ago. All of which "strongly implicates" ozone depletion as a cause of the increased summer precipitation in the subtropics, the scientists said.
Co-author John Fyfe at Environment Canada says the ozone hole has altered the way the atmosphere is heated over Antarctica, triggering a shift in a band of winds known as the westerly jet, which is "analogous to the 'jet stream' people are familiar with in the Northern Hemisphere."
The change in the westerly jet altered moisture transport in the Southern Hemisphere, having the most pronounced impact on Southern Australia with "about a 35-percent increase in rainfall attributable to polar ozone depletion," Fyfe said.
Sigmond said the 35-percent increase over the past 30 years corresponds to up to 30 millimetres more rain per month.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette



G’Five readies to launch Android phones in India

After the G’Five tablet murmur, we are now hearing about company’s plans to launch Android smartphones in the country. These phones are expected to run on obsolete Android version Éclair [2.1].
G’Five is preparing to launch a number of Android devices for different budget groups. In an interview with Mobile Indian, Jaideep Chopra, Vice President of G’Five said, “We will enter the Android smartphone space with multiple devices with different hardware options, but all phones will be based on Android 2.1 version.”
While the launch schedule is unknown right now, May release is being rumored

Ways to enjoy benefits of 3G and still keep your bills down



By Nimish Dubey, ET Bureau

The wise person who pointed out that you cannot get a rose without attendant thorns might well have been referring to 3G services in India.

For, while there is no doubt that 3G (wherever available) has added a whole new dimension to what one can do on a handset, from watching streaming high-definition video to making video calls, the fact is that all this does not come free.

In fact, if you are the type that has been spoilt by relatively low charges for accessing the Internet on your handset using GPRS/EDGE, then it is a fair chance that you will be stunned by the kind of hole a 3G connection can blow in your wallet. For instance, while Airtel allows users to access the Internet using EDGE/GPRS connectivity on their handsets for Rs 199 per month with a 2GB data limit in Delhi, a similar plan for 3G costs Rs 750.

And that is only part of the problem, thanks to the faster connectivity on 3G, you end up doing far more browsing than you would normally do on a relatively sluggish connection.

Of course, if you overshoot your data limit, you will end up being charged at the rate of 30 paise per 20 kb. Which does not sound too bad on the surface, but on conversion works out to be approximately Rs 15 per MB, which in turn means more than Rs 15,000 per GB. Financial mayhem, in other words.

The good news is that, with a little prudence, you can still make the most of 3G connectivity without depreciating your bank account significantly. All it takes is some common sense and attention to download detail. (Note that this feature mainly deals with 3G usage on a phone, as that is where it is most likely to be used).

Pick the right plan

To start off, make sure you're on the right plan. As of now, most major service providers (BSNL, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea) have a number of 3G plans, but unlike the early days of accessing the Internet on your handset when you could have an unlimited data plan, there are some very strict data limits on just how much data you can use.

You can get plans for long or short periods, with data usage limits applying for both. Some operators, like Idea, have time-based plans which let you use 3G services for a limited period of time, for instance, there is a Rs 145 plan for prepaid connections in which you get 120 minutes of 3G free spread over a period of seven days.

Similarly Airtel has sachet plans that let you use small amounts of data over 3G for a limited period of time, Rs 11 for 10 MB of usage for a day, for instance.