Asias glaciers prevent water shortage during droughts

first_imgLondon: Glaciers become the largest supplier of water to some of Asia’s major river basins during droughts, fulfilling the basic needs of 221 million people when water shortages are at their worst, a study has found. The study, published in journal Nature, has important economic and social implications for a region that is vulnerable to drought. Climate change is causing most of the region’s glaciers to shrink. Hamish Pritchard, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in the UK, said that the melt-water is important for the people living downstream when the rains fail and water shortages are at their worst. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’According to researchers, each summer, glaciers release 36 cubic kilometres of water — equivalent to 14 million Olympic swimming pools — to these rivers. This is enough water to cater to the needs of 221 million people. The high-mountain region of Asia, known as the Third Pole, including the Himalayas, has 95,000 glaciers in total. About 800 million people are partly dependent on their melt-water. However, this supply is unsustainable because climate change is causing the region’s glaciers to lose 1.6 times more water than they gain each year from new snowfall. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in ChinaResearchers analysed estimates of the glacier contribution with the amount of precipitation in average years and in drought years. They used climate datasets and hydrological modelling to calculate the volume of glacier water entering and leaving the region’s major river basins. “Even in high-mountain Asia, they are remote and cover quite a small part of the region. It turns out that they are particularly valuable to society as a natural store of water that keeps the rivers flowing through summer, even through long droughts,” Pritchard said. Against a background of increasing drought-related water and food shortages and malnutrition, which have been predicted with high confidence for the coming decades, Pritchard said that Asia’s glaciers will play an increasingly important part in protecting downstream populations from drought-induced spikes in water stress.last_img read more

Ethiopian Airlines says pilots got appropriate training

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO says the pilots who flew the plane that crashed on March 10 had trained on “all appropriate simulators,” rejecting reports that they had not been adequately prepared to handle the new aircraft.Tewolde Gebremariam said in a statement Monday that the airline owns simulators to help pilots train on the Boeing 737 Max, which has software installed that requires new training. The software can pitch the plane’s nose down in some cases to keep it from stalling.There is speculation that the software could have contributed to the crash, which killed 157 people, as well as to the crash of another Boeing 737 Max, a Lion Air flight, in October.Regulators say both planes had similar erratic flight paths shortly after take-off, an important part of their decision to ground the roughly 370 Max planes around the world.Boeing Co. is likely facing heavy costs to update the flight-control software on the Max and compensate airlines that have lost use of now-parked Max jets.Separately, Boeing’s European rival Airbus announced a deal to sell 300 planes to Chinese airlines, which are also major operators of the Max. The deal — signed before Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron — includes 290 Airbus A320 jets, which compete with the Boeing 737. The number that are A320neo jets, the chief competitor to the Boeing Max, will be determined later, an Airbus spokeswoman said.China’s demand for airliners is huge, and it could still order plenty more Boeing jets, but the announcement highlighted the peril Boeing faces in restoring airline and passenger confidence in its bestselling jet.After the Lion Air crash off the coast of Indonesia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing issued new training material for pilots. Questions lingered, however, whether the required training was sufficient and whether airlines like Ethiopian had access to simulators to give pilots thorough experience handling the software.Gebremariam said Ethiopian Airlines owns and operates a Boeing 737 Max simulator.“Contrary to some media reports, our pilots who fly the new model were trained on all appropriate simulators,” Gebremariam said. “The crews were well trained on this aircraft.”The CEO, however, had told The Associated Press this weekend that he thinks the warnings and extra training material from Boeing and U.S. regulators “might not have been enough.”He said in a subsequent interview to The Wall Street Journal on Monday that it appeared that the anti-stall software had been activated on the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed, though it was still too early to be sure.Ethiopian Airlines is widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline. It had been using five of the Max planes and was awaiting delivery of 25 more.Boeing is updating the plane’s anti-stall software and has invited more than 200 pilots, technical experts and regulators to its factory in Renton, Washington, for a briefing.The Federal Aviation Administration expects Boeing’s update this week.As part of the update, Boeing said it is tweaking the anti-stall software. After the update, the system will rely on data from more than one sensor before it automatically pushes the plane’s nose lower. The system won’t repeatedly push the nose down, and it will reduce the magnitude of the change.Boeing said it will pay to train airline pilots. Additional training — to be done on computers, not on a plane or in a flight simulator — is designed to drill home for pilots how they can override the software if it engages unnecessarily.A Boeing spokesman on Monday said the company was continuing to determine the cost of updating the flight-control software and related changes. He declined to comment on whether the company would compensate airlines whose jets have been grounded.Boeing has not said what it expects to pay to relatives of the people who died in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes. In filings, Boeing has not disclosed a charge for potential costs related to the Oct. 29 Lion Air accident.An aviation analyst for financial-services firm Cowen estimated the cost of the software fix at $400 million to $500 million, or roughly $1 million for each of the nearly 400 Max jets delivered or in the process of being delivered. Analyst Cai von Rumohr said Boeing may have little contractual obligation to compensate the airlines, but it will have to give them something to limit its loss of goodwill, and that is likely to be Boeing’s biggest direct cost from the accidents.Von Rumohr estimated that Boeing’s compensation to the families of Ethiopian Airlines victims could be $150 million — around $1 million for each of the people who died — and less after insurance.The worldwide grounding of the Max fleet will eat into Boeing’s cash flow because aircraft manufacturers get most of the purchase price only when the plane is delivered — Boeing has suspended Max deliveries.However, the Chicago company would receive that cash eventually if airlines don’t cancel orders. So far, Garuda Indonesia has said it plans to scrap a $4.9 billion order for 49 planes, but no other major Max customers — of which Southwest Airlines, with 249 orders, is the biggest — have indicated they plan to cancel. Boeing has about 4,600 unfilled orders for the plane’s various configurations.___AP Airlines Writer David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.Elias Meseret, The Associated Press read more