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Ensemble Prediction Systems


  • G.S. Paper 3

Why in news?

  • IMD has launched systems for probabilistic weather forecasting known as Ensemble Prediction Systems (EPS).

Ensemble Prediction Systems:

  • The India Met Department (IMD) has launched two “very high resolution” Ensemble Prediction Systems.
  • These are to generate ten-day probabilistic weather forecasts.
  • The new systems in place can provide rainfall forecasts with probabilities allowing better lead time to prepare for extreme weather events.
  • These systems also use a higher resolution 12 km grid scale, instead of the 23 km resolution that has been in use.
  • These systems will improve upon the existing deterministic forecasts that are prone to high margins of errors.
  • The new system will tell us the probability of rainfall according to its intensity and volume.
  • This will be colour coded for ease of interpretation.
  • These systems will also help disaster management authorities in making better emergency response decisions.
  • But these particular systems are specifically for rainfall, though it can be tweaked to provide similar forecasts for thunderstorms, cold waves and weather events.
  • Also, this model will not specifically be helpful in providing the exact nature and intensity of thunderstorms

Article 35A


  • G.S. Paper 2

Why in news?

  • The Centre has decided not to file any “counter-affidavit” on Article 35A, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition.

Article 35A:

  • Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet in 1954.
  • Article 35Aof the Indian Constitution is an article that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.
    • The article defines the classes of persons who are, or shall be, permanent residents of the State of Jammu and Kashmir; or
    • conferring on such permanent residents any special rights and privileges or imposing upon other persons any restrictions as respects—
      • Employment under the State Government
      • Acquisition of immovable property in the State
      • Settlement in the State
      • Right to scholarships and such other forms of aid as the State Government may provide

PIL against Article 35A:

  • The petition was filed by ‘We The Citizens’.
  • It said Article 35A is against the “very spirit of oneness of India” as it creates a “class within a class of Indian citizens.”
  • A second petition was filed by Jammu and Kashmir resident Charu Wali Khanna, challenged Article 35A for protecting certain provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, which restrict the basic right to property if a native woman marries a man not holding a permanent resident certificate.




  • G.S. Paper 3

Why in news?

  • A team from the Tohoku University in Japan has found the mineral, called moganite, in a lunar meteorite discovered in a desert in northwest Africa.


  • A team from the Tohoku University in Japan has found a mineral called moganite.
  • They have found it in a lunar meteorite discovered in a desert in northwest Africa.
  • Moganite is a crystal of silicon dioxide and is known to form on Earth in specific circumstances in sedimentary settings from alkaline fluids.
  • It has never before been detected in samples of lunar rock.
  • Researchers believe the mineral formed on the surface of the Moon in the area called Procellarum Terrane, as water originally present in lunar dirt evaporated due to exposure to strong sunlight.
  • Scientists are pointing to the presence of hidden reserves of water ice under the surface of the Moon could be potentially useful for future human exploration.
  • In a moganite there is less water because moganite forms from the evaporation of water.
  • Unlike the surface of the Moon, in the subsurface, much water remains as ice, because it’s protected from the sunlight.

Previous observations

  • Nasa’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite detected a shadowed crater near the Moon’s south pole.
  • India’s probe Chandrayaan-1 recorded evidence of water in the thin atmosphere above the Moon’s surface.

However, there has been no evidence so far of the presence of water in the subsurface at mid and lower latitudes.

  • The researchers estimate that the water content in the lunar soil under the surface could be up to 0.6%.
  • In this case future Moon explorers could theoretically extract about 1.6 gallons of water per 36 cubic feet of lunar rock.
  • It would also be enough for future astronauts and people that could perhaps live on the Moon in the future to extract enough water to cover their needs.

Zircon In Rocks



  • G.S. Paper 1,3

Why in news?

  • A 4.2 billion-year-old zircon has been found in a rock from Odisha offers fresh clues about the earth’s origins.

Zircon in rocks:

  • A rock sample which was recovered nearly eight years ago from Champua in Odisha’s Kendujhar district has been in news.
  • Scientists have found in the rock a grain of magmatic zircon that is an estimated 4,240 million years old.
  • It has been deemed a discovery of great promise to study the earth’s early years.
  • Zircon is a mineral that contains traces of radioactive isotopes.
  • Geologists from the University of Calcutta and Curtin University, Malaysia, along with researchers from the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing, made the discovery.
  • Earlier, the only instance of zircon older than this discovery was the one found in Jack Hill, Western Australia.
  • Jack hill Zircon is 4,400 million years old and is the oldest known rock sample.
  • But the zircon in India is from metamorphosed sedimentary rock, unlike the Singhbhum which was formed from magma.
  • Thus, the Singhbhum rock from where the zicron was recovered is the second oldest and its zircon, the oldest magmatic zircon on earth.
  • The analyses was done by Chinese scientists.
  • It confirmed the presence of two zircon grains that were 4,240 million and 4,030 million years old.
  • This adds valuable information about the presence of water in the first few hundred million years of the Earth’s history.
  • It will also give us clues to when plate tectonics began.


  • Zircon is ubiquitous in the crust of Earth.
  • It occurs as a common accessory mineral in igneous rocks (as primary crystallization products), in metamorphic rocks and as detrital grains in sedimentary rocks.
  • Large zircon crystals are rare.
  • Zircon is also very resistant to heat and corrosion.
  • Zircon is mainly consumed as an opacifier, and has been known to be used in the decorative ceramics industry.
  • Other applications include use in refractories and foundry casting and in nuclear fuel rods, catalytic fuel converters and in water and air purification systems.
  • Zircon is one of the key minerals used by geologists for geochronology.

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