1 . Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano eruption 

Reasons for being in news

At least 75 homes most of them in the hard-hit community of Leilani Estates  have been devoured by streams of red-hot molten rock creeping across the landscape since May 3 in  Kilauea.

Lava flows also have knocked out power and telephone lines in the region, disrupting communications.

Residents have been warned to avoid exposure to Pele’s hair, emissions of sulphur dioxide gas, wind-blown ash and noxious clouds of laze.

Pele’s hair

These are fine, glass-like fibres of volcanic material produced by fountains of lava and carried aloft by the wind. The filament, named for the mythical goddess of volcanoes, can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritation like fibreglass.


A term combining the words “lava” and “haze” – formed when lava reacts with seawater to form a mix of acid fumes, steam and glass-like specks.

About Kīlauea

It is a currently active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, and the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaii.

Its name means “spewing” or “much spreading” in the Hawaiian language, referring to its frequent outpouring of lava.

Kīlauea is one of five subaerial volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii, created by the Hawaii hotspot. The oldest volcano on the island, Kohala, is more than a million years old, and Kīlauea, the youngest, is believed to be between 300,000 and 600,000 years of age.

How Kīlauea was created ?

Like all Hawaiian volcanoes, Kīlauea was created as the Pacific tectonic plate moved over the Hawaiian hotspot in the Earth’s underlying mantle.

Following the pattern of Hawaiian volcano formation, Kīlauea started as a submarine volcano, gradually building itself up through underwater eruptions of alkali basalt lava before emerging from the sea with a series of explosive eruptions about 50,000 to 100,000 years ago. Since then, the volcano’s activity has likely been as it is now, a continual stream of effusive and explosive eruptions of roughly the same pattern as its activity in the last 200 or 300 years.

Ecology of Kīlauea

Because of its position more than 3,000 kilometers  from the nearest continental landmass, the island of Hawaii and in turn of Kīlauea is one of the most geographically isolated landmasses on Earth; this in turn has strongly influenced its ecology. The majority of the species present on the island are endemic to it and can be found nowhere else on Earth, the result of an isolated evolutionary lineage sheltered from external biotic influence; this makes its ecosystem vulnerable both to invasive species and human development, and an estimated third of the island’s natural flora and fauna has already gone extinct.

Kīlauea’s ecological community is additionally threatened by the activity of the volcano itself. Lava flows often overrun sections of the volcano’s forests and burn them down, and volcanic ash distributed by explosive eruptions often smothers local plant life.


2 . Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana

Reasons for being in news

Odisha govt. has launched a new Health Insurance Scheme named Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana for Journalists.This scheme will be operational from 1 June 2018.

Features of the Yojana

1 . Under this Yojana, all the working journalists will get an insurance coverage of Rs. 2 lakh per annum.

2 . Initially, around 3233 journalists from different media groups will get this Insurance Coverage.

3 . Atleast 5 members of family of Journalists can avail the scheme benefits.

4 . This insurance coverage will be applicable for cashless treatment in all Public / Private hospitals. Journalists can avail free treatment upto Rs. 2 Lakh through Health Insurance Card.


3 . Gaofen-6

Reasons for being in news

China recently successfully launched a new Earth observation satellite Gaofen-6 which will be mainly used in agricultural resources research and disaster monitoring.

About the mission

The Gaofen-6 satellite was launched on a Long March-2D rocket  from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China.

A scientific experiment satellite named Luojia-1 was sent into space at the same time. It was the 276th mission of the Long March rocket series.

About Long March

A Long March rocket or Changzheng rocket in Chinese pinyin is any rocket in a family of expendable launch systems operated by the People’s Republic of China. Development and design falls under the auspices of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

In English, the rockets are abbreviated as LM- for export and CZ- within China, as “Chang Zheng” means “Long March” in Chinese pinyin. The rockets are named after the Long March of Chinese communist history.

The Long March is China’s primary expendable launch system family. The maximum payload for LEO is 12,000 kilograms and the maximum payload for GTO is 5,500 kg.


4 . Cauvery Water Management Authority

Reasons for being in news

Acting on the Supreme Court’s direction, the Centre recently constituted a Cauvery Water Management Authority (CMA) to address the dispute over sharing of river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.

Related image


On February 16, the apex court had directed the government to form the CMA within six weeks in a verdict that marginally increased Karnataka’s share of Cauvery water, reduced the allocation for Tamil Nadu and sought to settle the protracted water dispute between the two southern states.

Composition of Authority

The authority would comprise a chairman, eight members besides a secretary. Out of eight members, two each will be full-time and part-time members, while the rest four would be part-time members from states. The chairman will have the tenure of five years or until he reaches the age of 65, whichever is earlier.

Powers of Authority

1 . The authority will exercise power and discharge such duty “sufficient and expedient for securing compliance and implementation” of the Supreme Court order in relation to “storage, apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters”.

2 . If any delay or shortfall is caused in release of water on account of default of any party state, the authority will take appropriate action.

3 . The authority will also supervise operation of reservoirs and with regulation of water releases therefrom with the assistance of regulation committee.

4 . The authority at the beginning of the water year (June 1 each year) would determine the total residual storage in the specified reservoirs.

5 . It will advise the states to take suitable measures to improve water use efficiency, by way of promoting micro-irrigation (drip and sprinkler), change in cropping pattern, improved agronomic practices, system deficiency correction and command area development.


5 . Ensemble Prediction Systems

Reasons for being in news

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has commissioned two very high resolution  state-of-the-art global Ensemble Prediction Systems (EPS) for generating operational 10-days probabilistic forecasts of weather.

Features of Ensemble Prediction Systems (EPS) 

1 . The EPS involves the generation of multiple forecasts using slightly varying initial conditions.

2 . The EPS will enhance the weather information being provided by the current models by quantifying the uncertainties in the weather forecasts and generate probabilistic forecasts.

3 . The frameworks of the new EPSs are among the best weather prediction systems in the world at present. Very few forecasting centres in the world use this high resolution for short-medium range probabilistic weather forecasts.

4 . The probabilistic forecasts of severe weather events at 12 km grid scale across India will greatly help the disaster management authorities and other users in making better emergency response decisions by explicitly accounting for the uncertainty in weather forecasts.

5 . The probabilistic forecasts will also be very useful for various sectors of the economy including agriculture, water resources, tourism and renewable energy.

Predictions by Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) in past few years

Over the past few years, the quality of weather and climate services provided by this Ministry has improved significantly due to systematic efforts in augmenting atmospheric and ocean observing systems in the region, improving the high performance computational capability to 8.0 petaflops, implementing high-resolution global models and advanced data assimilation techniques for ingesting data from Indian and International satellites, conducting cutting edge research and investing in human resources development.

The successes in predicting the Tropical Cyclones Phailin/Hudhud, heavy rainfall events and heat waves are the best examples of the improvement in prediction capability during the recent years.

About Ensemble Prediction Systems (EPS)

Ensemble forecasting is a method used in numerical weather prediction. Instead of making a single forecast of the most likely weather, a set (or ensemble) of forecasts is produced. This set of forecasts aims to give an indication of the range of possible future states of the atmosphere.