Sunday, May 30, 2010

Greenland and Global Warming

Someone like me, who is obsessed with his own little world and its vicissitudes, hardly finds time to explore what lies beyond his little world. But when I do, the feeling that comes with this newly acquired knowledge is of unadulterated satisfaction, achievement and amazement. At such times, I feel that vastness of this planet earth is beyond comprehension by a mere mortal and all that I can do is to explore it and admire it. One such moment of exploration happened on this weekend - courtesy National Geographic magazine. I read two wonderful articles about Greenland and impact of global warming on its geography, economy and future. I would like to share some of the most fascinating aspects from those articles:

1. Greenland, the largest island on planet earth (except continents), has some 80% of its land buried under ice sheets which can go as deep as 2 miles. It is one of the world's least densely populated nations. It is largely dependent on other nations for even the most of basic resources like fodder for sheep and wood for buildings. Its economy is largely dependent on sea food exports, which are not consistent enough due to unpredictable weather conditions. Greenland also attracts its share of tourists but numbers are not very high, owning to lack of proper conditions for stay and costly travel expenses. Fjords, that dissect the land and pop up many small streams, make it impossible to travel by land.

2. Although Greenland is an autonomous country but it is still considered as a part of Kingdom of Denmark, which controls its foreign policy and pumps hefty amount of money to help the anemic economy of Greenland.

3. Greenland has always been a hot spot for many glaciologists, who want to study Global warming in action. Increase in pollution in other areas has adversely affected the melting patterns of ice in Greenland. In general, ice has a tendency to reflect most of the light that falls on it. Its albedo is high. But with air containing all kinds of impure particles, volcanic ashes and by products of industrialization, the ice that is melting turns black in color. Resulting tar like liquid, also called cryoconite, has lesser albedo and absorbs higher amount of heat, which in turn melts more ice and sets off a chain reaction. If all Greenland ice melts sea level will rise will inundate coastlines around the planet.

4. Another interesting aspect of Global Warming on Greenlandic ice is formation of superaglacial lakes. These lakes, formed by rise in temperature around the region, vary in composition and size. While it may take days for a small pond to acquire the status of a lake, it generally takes only a few hours for a lake to be sucked by a Moulin - a vertical hollow shaft in sheets of ice. In 2006, a team of glaciologists documented the draining of a two-square-mile lake into a Moulin, where 11 billion gallons of water disappeared in just 84 minutes.

- Courtesy National Geographic - June 2010 issue.

I hope the reader enjoyed the information as much as i did. For more, get hold of the main source. Cheers!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Australianism Prevails

"Australianism, means singleminded determination to win - to win within the laws but, if necessary, to the last limit within them. It means where the 'impossible' is within the realm of what the human body can do, there are Australians who believe that they can do it - and who have succeeded often enough to make us wonder if anything is impossible to them. It means they have never lost a match - particularly a Test match - until the last run is scored or their last wicket down." - John Arlott

The semi final between Australia and Pakistan was a true exhibition of the attitude known as Australianism. It was sheer class, mental strength and ‘never die' spirit that zoomed Australia into the Final of the competition. Once again, Australians proved themselves and delivered the goods when it mattered the most. It was just another match where the result could have easily gone against them but they snatched an improbable victory from their opponents.

After the match, I kind of felt sorry for Pakistan. Although they played poorly throughout the tournament but they performed really well in the Big Match. They batted superbly to host a Target of 192 in 20 overs and followed that with an excellent start. They did all right things that a team does to defend a high total. They got rid of Warner and Watson early and reduced Australia to 67/4 in 10 overs. Their spinners bowled their heart out to make the chase look impossible. Australians looked on the verge of being knocked out of the world cup. The edge was becoming thinner and thinner with each passing ball and an Australian defeat looked inevitable. But as one would expect from them, The Australians held on to that thin edge. They had that last ray of HOPE that never leaves their sides till the last ball is bowled. The task was arduous and they pursued it relentlessly. White started the onslaught with his lusty hitting and gave Australia the momentum they were looking for. But even after his marvelous innings, the goal looked far way from their reach when they required 48 runs in 3 overs with 6 men down. Their hopes were lingering on one Batsman who has been the epitome of consistency, Mike Hussey. Mike Hussey had delivered most of the times when the team required him and he did not disappoint his team mates this time as well. Some big sixes, superb running and cool batting reduced the equation to 17 of last 5 balls with Hussey on strike, already playing the innings of his life. Pakistan employed their best bowler in Ajmal to contain the deadly hurricane but things fell apart for them miserably. Couples of sixes, a sliced upper cut to fetch a boundary and final blow over mid wicket for a six were all that Australia required to pull out one the best international T20 chases. Hussey completed a miracle and expressed Australianism yet again.

Kudos to the spirit and attitude that form the core of any Australian cricketer and sets him apart from rest. And all the best to England for final game because they will need all the luck they can afford. There is no doubt in their ability and form but they will have to produce something special to stop the Australian juggernaut. No matter who wins in the final, we can be sure of one thing that the final will be played among the two best performers of this World Cup.