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Twin sports car-sized satellites to chase water changes on Earth

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TAMPA: A pair of identical, sportscar-sized satellites are poised to zoom around the Earth and track changes in water and ice, offering new insights into global warming and sea level rise, NASA said Monday.

Groundwater, oceans, lakes, rivers and ice sheets will be monitored by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), a joint mission between the US space agency and German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

The satellites are scheduled to blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday at 12:47 pm Pacific time (1947 GMT). A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will propel the satellites to an orbit about 310 miles (500 kilometers) above the Earth. The pair will fly 137 miles (220 kilometers) apart, or about the distance from Los Angeles to San Diego.

NASA has spent $430 million on the mission, and Germany has spent about $91 million. The new pair of satellites will pick up where the first GRACE mission left off, having completed its 15-year mission in 2017. The first GRACE mission gave scientists a trove of data about the ever-dwindling ice mass.

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Environment

France says protests no excuse to curb climate battle

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EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS BY AMAR GURIRO IN POLAND

KATOWICE: France said today at the UN climate talks it fears certain countries will exploit the “yellow vest” protests to curb their ambitions in the fight against global warming.
The “yellow vests”, clad in the luminous safety jackets carried by law in all French cars, began slowing or blocking traffic on roads around France last month in protest against anti-pollution fuel tax hikes.
The demonstrations have snowballed, leading to calls to topple French President Emmanuel Macron, accused of favoring the rich.
“It would be dangerous to blame the environment for this entire crisis. It’s a broader political, economic and social problem,” said Brune Poirson, French secretary of state for the ecological transition.
She spoke to reporters on the margins of the UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, adding that she was notably there “to help countries decode” the situation in France.
“The ‘yellow vest’ movement is much broader and goes way beyond the single issue of ecological transition, so I believe one should not conflate things,” Poirson said.
“The risk is that other countries… will use what happened in France and reduce it to a question of ecological transition and a poorly received carbon tax in order to also curb their ambitions regarding the climate.”
Conceding the need to figure out a way to transition to clean energy “in the fairest way possible”, Poirson said, “the end goal remains the same, namely to get over our oil dependence and speed up the ecological transition”.
Officials from nearly 200 countries are meeting in Katowice until the end of the week to try to flesh out the promises agreed in the 2015 Paris climate accord.

 

 

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Environment

Country to receive rain, snowfall: PMD

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) forecast rain and snowfall in upper and central parts of the country till Tuesday.
According to the weather advisory issued by PMD, a westerly wave is affecting western and upper parts and likely to affect central parts of the country.
According to PMD, rain with the thunderstorm is expected at scattered places in Quetta, Zhob, Malakand, Hazara, Mardan, Peshawar, Kohat, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Faisalabad, Sargodha, D.G.Khan divisions, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir, Bannu, D.I.Khan, Multan, Sahiwal, Bahawalpur, and Karachi divisions.
Snowfall is also predicted in Malakand division Swat, Chitral, Kalam Malamjabba, upper Dir, Hazara division, Murree, Galliyat, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

 

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Environment

Fog: 5 injured in a road accident

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5 injured in a road accident

ISLAMABAD: Five persons were injured as nine vehicles collided on the M-2 Motorway this morning.
According to a spokesman of the Motorway Police, the accident occurred near Kala Shah Kaku on Lahore Islamabad Motorway due to dense fog. He said that the rescue and relief operation is underway at the moment.
Meanwhile, M-2 from Lahore to Islamabad, M-3 from Pindi Bhattian to Faisalabad and M-4 from Faisalabad to Gojra have been closed for all types of traffic.
The Motorway Police has advised the general public to avoid unnecessary traveling on national highways and motorways.

 

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