What is the career in the field of Earth Sciences?



Our Earth is extremely fragile, and human activities are making it more vulnerable. One of the recent examples of the impact of indiscriminate development and climate change is the shocking collapse of a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district on February 7, 2021, and the ensuing floods that claimed many lives. The deadly disaster brings to light the need to rigorously study the impact of human activity on the environment. And that's exactly what earth scientists do.



What is Earth Science?



Earth science is the study of the structure, composition, and evolution of the Earth, the life it supports, and the processes that govern the formation and behaviour of the Earth's materials. It seeks to find answers to questions such as how ice moves, where the mineral resources are, and the rate of permafrost thaw. Understanding these phenomena is essential to the maintenance of life on the planet.



Different branches:




  • Glaciology: Glaciologists assess the impact of climate change, look for alternatives to sustain Earth's depleting resources, and forecast avalanches.

  • Geology: Geologists study Earth and the processes that act on its materials. It also traces the history of the planet and its life forms since origin.

  • Hydrogeology: The study of water flow on and below the Earth's surface and its chemistry.

  • Limnology: Limnology examines lake sediments to determine past climate and ecological environments.

  • Oceanography: The study of the ocean, including its water, boundaries and topography, types of currents, and marine biology.

  • Volcanology and Seismology: The scientific study of the dynamics of volcanoes and earthquakes.



What to study?



Universities in India and abroad offer a range of courses in Earth Sciences. You can pursue a Master of Science (M.Sc) and specialise in the field of your choice. A Ph.D is required to start working in the field.



Where: India




  • Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun: Training and research programmes on Geomorphology and Environmental Geology. Geophysics, Petrology and Geochemistry

  • Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune: Dual degree programme Bachelor of Science and Master of Science

  • Sharada University. Noida, and Pondicherry University: M.Sc in Environmental Sciences

  • Bharatiya Vidyapeeth, Insitute of Environment Education and Research. Punes M.Sc in Environment Science and Technology

  • Annamalai University, Cuddalore: M.Sc Earth Sciences and PG diplomas in Petroleum and Remote Sensing



Abroad




  • Utrecht University, the Netherlands, M.Sc Earth Surface and Water

  • University of Helsinki, Finland: M.Sc Geology and Geophysics

  • The University of Westent Australia: Master of Geographic Information Science

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the U.S. M.SC Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate: M.Sc Geology, Geochemistry and Geobiology; Master of Environmental Policy and Planning



What are the job prospects?



Earth scientists primarily work in research organisations and environmental monitoring agencies.



These organisations could be in the private as well as the public sector.



Depending on your field of interest, you can also work with non-profit organisations and think-tanks on environment conservation and policy. If you have an academic bent of mind, then working in a university as a professor in the field of your choice could also suit you.



 



Picture Credit : Google


Are wind turbines a renewable energy source?



Whenever you have travelled, be it on buses or cars on road or by trains, you might have encountered vast open spaces that are rather windy. On most such spaces, you would have also seen wind farms - a term for an area "cultivated" with wind turbines.



The principle behind the workings of a wind turbine has been more or less the same through time. The turbine captures the wind's energy and converts it into a form we can use. Wind turbines have remained one of the most sophisticated forms of renewable energy, while at the same time being cost-effective as well.



Emerging trend



While this much is quite well-known, the trend in wind turbines over the years has been its increasing size. Even though there are a number of types of wind turbines, the horizontal axis kind - or the one that looks like a fan on a pole - remains the most popular ones. Highly efficient at converting wind energy to electrical energy, these wind turbines have been growing taller. From hub heights of about 30m in the 1990s, hub heights are now pushing past 100m.



Bigger the better



The reason for this is the fact that bigger is better for wind turbines. The way wind e travels around the world implies that velocities of wind at higher altitudes are way higher than that at ground level.



Apart from this feature, which allows these tall turbines to catch wind more easily, the larger, longer turbine blades also afford increased aerodynamic efficiency.



As with any large-scale projects, such wind turbines have their own set of challenges as well. But the technology and engineering acumen at our disposal would only mean that better solutions will keep emerging to harness more wind energy.



 



Picture Credit : Google


What is GPS map?



This accurate, up-to-date map is created using digital technology. You can view GPS maps on your phone, tablet, or computer. They can tell you exactly where you are at any time. The coordinates and position as well as atomic time obtained by a terrestrial GPS receiver from GPS satellites orbiting Earth interact together to provide the digital mapping programming with points of origin in addition to the destination points needed to calculate distance. This information is then analyzed and compiled to create a map that provides the easiest and most efficient way to reach a destination.



More technically speaking, the device operates in the following manner:




  • GPS receivers collect data from at least four GPS satellites orbiting the Earth, calculating position in three dimensions.

  • The GPS receiver then utilizes position to provide GPS coordinates, or exact points of latitudinal and longitudinal direction from GPS satellites.

  • The points, or coordinates, output an accurate range between approximately "10-20 meters" of the actual location.

  • The beginning point, entered via GPS coordinates, and the ending point, (address or coordinates) input by the user, are then entered into the digital mapping software.

  • The mapping software outputs a real-time visual representation of the route. The map then moves along the path of the driver.

  • If the driver drifts from the designated route, the navigation system will use the current coordinates to recalculate a route to the destination location.



 



Picture Credit : Google


What is political world map?



A political map shows you the countries of the world. You see where borders and cities are, including national capitals. Imaginary, numbered lines- the equator and lines of latitude and longitude – give you the exact position on Earth of places they pass through. Some of the largest independent nations in the world are the Russian Federation, People's Republic of China, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Argentina. While the smallest nations include Vatican City, Monaco, Andorra, and Singapore.



As represented on the world map, some countries like Brazil, Australia, the USA, and Indonesia have long coastlines, while others are completely landlocked like Bhutan, Switzerland, Mongolia, and Lesotho.



The world political map shows dependent territories such as Greenland and the Faroe Islands of Denmark, as well as the French Overseas Territories, which are geographically and culturally distinct, enjoying some degree of autonomy but are not independent states.



 



Picture Credit : Google


What is street map?



This type of map shows where the streets and roads in a town or city are. It will also show bus stops, stations, schools, hospitals, parks, and other useful and important places. The maps are of different sizes, shapes, and scales. Small maps are used to show the overview of a region’s major roads or routes while large maps give greater details and cover a large area. Highway maps give the overview of major routes within a region. Street maps mainly cover areas within a city or metropolitan area. A collection of road maps bound together in a book is referred to as road atlas. Road maps often use thin lines to indicate minor roads and thicker or bolder colors to indicate major roads.



 



Picture Credit : Google