Important Facts for Prelims (2nd February 2019)
Giant cavity in Antarctic glacier
- NASA scientists have discovered a gigantic cavity, almost 300 meters tall, growing at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica.
- Cavity indicates rapid decay of the ice sheet and acceleration in global sea levels due to climate change.
- The cavity was revealed by ice-penetrating radar in NASA’s Operation IceBridge, an airborne campaign beginning in 2010 that studies connections between the polar regions and the global climate.
- Thwaites Glacier is currently responsible for about 4% of global sea level rise.
Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty
- The United States has suspended the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty with Russia.
- The treaty was signed in December 1987 by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.
- It prohibited the United States and the Soviet Union from possessing, testing and deploying ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles of ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
- It also covered all land-based missiles, including those carrying nuclear warheads but did not cover sea-launched missiles.
- The objective of this treaty was to end the arms race between the two superpowers US and USSR.