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[ Day 13 – Synopsis ] 75 Days Mains Revision Plan 2022 – Geography and Ethics

 

 

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.

 

Geography:

Q1. Discuss the prominent landscapes formed by the action of wind and waves? How will global warming and increasing sea levels affect them? Explain. 15M

Introduction:

Winds and Waves are exogenic forces acting on the surface of Earth resulting in prominent erosional and depositional landscapes like sand dunes, Beaches and Dunes etc. They are called exogenic forces because they are acting on outside i.e the surface of Earth, unlike endogenic forces like convective cells driving the tectonic plates.

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LANDSCAPES FORMED BY THE WIND: are called Aeolian landforms.

The wind is the main exogenic agent in the desert region, they have greater speed and, the action on the surface is similar to the sandblasting process. Resulting in

EROSIONAL LANDFORMS:

  1. DEFLATION HOLLOWS: The surface of the desert gets blown out by persistent wind currents in one direction creating a shallow depression.
  • Eg: Qattara Depression in the southwest of Alexandria, Egypt.
  1. MUSHROOM ROCKS: Usually the erosive action of the wind is strongest at the base, which erodes the rock. The top portion is resistant, resulting in a broadly rounded pear shaped head, resembling a mushroom.
  • In the Sahara desert, such landforms are known as ‘Gaur’ and in Germany, these are known as ‘Pitzfelsen’.
  1. Yardangs and Zeugens

DEPOSITIONAL LANDFORMS OF THE WIND:

  1. SAND DUNES: When the wind blows, it lifts and transports sand from one place to another. When it stops blowing the sand falls and gets deposited in low hills-like structures. These are called sand dunes.
  2. BARCHANS: When the dunes are formed in the form of a boomerang with its end pointed away from the wind direction, they are called Barchans.
  3. LONGITUDINAL DUNES: These are long ridges of considerable length, but small height. Occurs when the wind blows constantly in one direction and the supply of sand is less.
  4. TRANSVERSE DUNES: These result when the source of sand is perpendicular to the wind direction. They are also lengthy but have small heights.
  5. LOESS: When the grains of sand is very fine and light, the wind can carry them over very long distances. When such sand is deposited in large areas, it is called loess. Large deposits of loess are found in China.

 

PROMINENT LANDSCAPE FEATURES FORMED BY WAVEs:

  • Waves are prominent exogenic agents in coastal regions. Some of the changes along the coasts take place very fast.
  • When waves break, the water is thrown with great force onto the shore, and simultaneously, there is a great churning of sediments on the sea bottom. These result in various landforms.

 

Various erosional landforms formed by action of waves are:

  1. CLIFFS: Along high rocky coasts, waves break with great force against the land shaping the hillsides into cliffs.
  2. SEA CAVES: The lashing of waves against the base of the cliff and the rock debris that gets smashed against the cliff along with the lashing waves create hollows. These hollows get widened and deepened to form sea caves.
  3. SEA STACKS:  The roofs of caves collapse and the sea cliffs recede further inland due to the action of waves.
  4. Wave cut platform: Narrow flat area at the base of a cliff created by erosion,

 

DEPOSITIONAL FEATURES OF WAVES:

  1. BEACHES: As the erosion along the coast takes place a good supply material becomes available to longshore currents and waves to deposit them as beaches along the shore.
  1. BARRIER BARS:  These are long ridges of sand or shingles parallel to the coast, in the nearshore zone.
  2. SPIT: A barrier bar which gets keyed up to the headland of a bay is called a spit.
  3. LAGOONS: When barrier bars and spits form at the mouth of a bay and block it, a lagoon forms.
  4. COASTAL PLAIN: The lagoons would gradually get filled up by sediments from the land giving rise to a coastal plain

 

Effect of global warming and increasing sea levels on Landscapes formed by Winds and Waves:

Desert landforms:

UNEP report says that some deserts will see temperature rises of 5 to 7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century and rainfall drops of 10 to 20 percent. This will

  • Increase evaporation: loss of valuable water, destruction of oasis.
  • Increase dust storms: This can travel large distances. In June, the dust cloud, which originated in the Sahara, was seen in the UK causing the skies to turn orange.
  • Higher erosion: of soft rocks in the desert, leading to increased abrasions and collapse of the hard rock above.
  • Spread of sand dunes: deserts will move towards the communities at their edges.
  • Droughts: may lead to the conversion of previously productive lands to desert in a process called

 

Coastal Landforms:

The sea level is predicted to increase by 10-30 inches by 2100 if global warming reaches 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial temperature levels. (IPCC Special Report on Ocean and cryosphere in a Changing Climate).

 

  • Natural Disaster Management Mechanism Weakens: Coastal off-shore bars offer the first buffer or defense against storms or tsunami’s by absorbing most of their destructive force. These would be eroded by increasing sea levels.
  • Beach Rotation: The erosion process dominates due to increasing sea levels and most of the landscapes like beaches disappear in a lesser amount of geological time.
  • Chemical Erosion Increases: The saltwater intrusion increases the salinity and hence the forces of chemical erosion erode the landscape further.
  • Coastal Indentation and Floods: the prominent landscapes could be inundated due to increasing sea levels.

 

CONCLUSION: The barriers, beaches, beach dunes, and mangroves, absorb the destructive force of the storm and tsunami waves.  Desertification could initiate are large-scale human migration. Therefore, it’s important to limit global warming and protect coastal and desert landforms.

 

 

 

Q2. What do you understand by permafrost peatlands? Explain their significance. 10M

Introduction:

Peatlands are a class of wetlands, completely flooded with water. Permafrost peatlands are the large areas of peatlands (plant and animal matter) trapped under the frozen surface of the ice.

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FIGURE: GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION OF PEATLANDS

The frozen ground which remains at zero or sub-zero level temperatures for at least 2 years are called permafrost areas. Thus permafrost peatlands are usually found in Alaska, Canada, Russia, and parts of Northern Europe.

  • Almost 25% of the land area in the northern hemisphere is permafrost.

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF PERMAFROST PEATLANDS:

1.CARBON STOREHOUSE: The peatlands of Alaska and Eastern Europe alone hold around 39 billion tonnes of carbon, which is more than what the forests of Europe hold together.

 

2.  COAL RICH: It’s a potential resource that would get transformed into coal. At present, the coal is present in peatlands in its nascent form peat, which would get transformed into lignite – Bituminous – Anthracite coal in the future.

 

3. PREVENTS GLOBAL WARMING: Waterlogged conditions limit microbial decay of dead plant materials rich in carbon dioxide. This prevents the reintroduction of the gas into the atmosphere.

 

4. PREVENTS WIDE-SCALE FLOODING: by remaining frozen and stabilizing the sea level rise.

 

5. PREVENTS GLOBAL EPIDEMICS AND DISEASES: trapping the older microbes, viruses and bacteria that have slumbered beneath Arctic ice for tens of thousands of years.

 

6. Unique biodiversity: Peatlands sustain a rich and unique range of habitats and a large proportion of highly adapted species. Eg: Alkaline fens in Ireland have 118 plants and 214 species of invertebrates, birds, and mammals, all within less than 1 square km.

 

 7.  Radioactivity: During the Cold War, from the end of World War II until 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union conducted nuclear testing and research in the Arctic that left high levels of radioactive waste in soil and permafrost. Melting permafrost in the Arctic could release radioactive waste.

 

Threats to permafrost peatlands:

A recent study by the University of Leeds further highlights the importance of Peatlands:

  1. By mid-century, Northern Europe will no longer be able to sustain permafrost peatlands due to global warming.
  2. By 2060, areas of Europe and Western Siberia would lose 75 % of permafrost peatlands.
  3. This would enhance the carbon emissions and further thwart the efforts of mitigating climate change.

 

CONCLUSION: The peatlands of the northern hemisphere have reached the global warming tipping point according to the IPCC Special Climate Change report. This means the permafrost peatlands would become wet and warm, thereby exposing themselves to the land surface. We should strengthen our climate change mitigation policies to save the peatlands, rather than throwing in the towel.

 

Ethics:

Q3. How do punishments and rewards determine one’s attitude? Being a civil servant, how can one use these effectively? Give your suggestions. 10M

Introduction:

The attitudes can be conditioned as a result of the association of an attitude object with a pleasant or unpleasant stimulus in the environment i.e. rewards and punishments respectively.

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How do they determine one’s attitude?

Punishment is focused on reducing or eliminating unwanted behavior. A reward is focused on promoting or adding helpful behavior. They are of two types:

Reward Punishment
Positive Meaning Something is added to increase the likelihood of a behavior. Something is added to decrease the likelihood of a behavior.
Example Telling a kid, that if he cleans his room, he will get a toy. When a student talks out of turn in the middle of class, the teacher might scold the child for interrupting.
Effect Develops a positive attitude towards the task. Prompting him to do the task. Develops a negative attitude towards the act i.e. speaking in the middle. Prompting him to not do the task again.

 

Negative Meaning Something is removed to increase the likelihood of a behavior. Something is removed to decrease the likelihood of a behavior.
Example Telling a kid, that if he cleans his room now, he doesn’t have to clean it again for a month. When the student talks out of turn again, the teacher promptly tells the child that he has to miss recess because of his behavior.
Effect Develops a positive attitude towards the task. But may also develop a habit of active avoidance. Develops a negative attitude towards the task. But may also develop a negative attitude towards the punisher.

Punishments and rewards are part of instrumental or operant conditioning.  Civil servants can  use it effectively in the following ways:

Positive punishments: Fines can act as a basic form of deterrence. For eg: Fines for littering, fines for use of single use plastics, etc.

  • People who buy or sell single use plastic should be punished with compulsory community service of picking up plastic waste.

Negative punishments: Cancellations can act as deterrence. For eg: drunk and driving is punishable with imprisonment of upto 6 months or fine.

  • Compulsory non-essential social media curfew for a month or week for people who forward fake news.

Positive rewards: Promoting people to adopt positive attitudes. For eg: Surrender cum rehabilitation benefits for Naxals, providing 1.5 lakh grants.

  • Providing incentives for people who report on corruption, crime, people who are misusing government welfare. etc ; Rewarding villages with open defecation free status; Rewarding communities that are low crime zones; Rewarding families of habitual offenders for every year the person is crime free.

Negative rewards: Showing  people how better they are following the rules.  In one instance, Yama sat behind a bike rider without a helmet to convey the Bangaluru traffic department’s message – if you do not follow traffic rules, Yama is right behind you to take away your life.

  • Improving organizational efficiency by rewarding employees who have higher work ethics and efficiency with a day off or a week off.

Conclusion

Civil servants can reward and punish in various ways to control crime, improve adherence to rules, and improve implementation of government schemes and organizational efficiency.