UPSC PRELIMS 2020 : Wildfires in Arctic

Wildfires in Arctic

Topic : Wildfires in Arctic

Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment

 

Context:

Wildfires in Arctic

Wildfires ravaging parts of the Arctic are threatening to accelerate the melting of ice and permafrost — the permanently frozen ground layer — releasing greenhouse gases stored for thousands of years.

 

Peat Fires:

  • Fires are burning farther north, and scientists worry the forest fires are igniting peat fires.
  • Peat stores large amounts of carbon, which is burning and releasing record amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.
  • As the planet warms, more and more frozen peat and permafrost has thawed, releasing large amounts of carbon.

 

Permafrost:

Frozen soil, rock and plant material remaining below 0oC for atleast two years. As permafrost thaws, microbes decompose organic material releasing Carbon dioxide and methane into atmosphere.

 

Significance:

Although wildfires are frequent in the northern hemisphere between May and October, scientists estimate the magnitude of this season’s burn is higher than any other in the 16-year-record

 

Sample Question:

Consider the following statements about Permafrost

  1. It is frozen soil, rock and plant material remaining below 0oC for at least two decades.
  2. As permafrost thaws, microbes decompose organic material releasing Carbon dioxide and methane into atmosphere

Which of the statement(s) given above is / are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: c