Magazine article Geographical

Questions and Answers

Magazine article Geographical

Questions and Answers

Article excerpt


Q: As a child I collected stamps from many countries, one of which was Tannou Tuva in Central Asia. Please can you tell me to what country it now belongs, and what is its capital?

A: Originally Tannou Tuva was a province in Mongolia. In 1914, Russia -- having promoted a separatist movement -- gave its protection to the region. Consequently Tannou Tuva declared its independence in 1921, triggering a territorial dispute with Mongolia. With Russian mediation, this was settled in 1926 with Tannou Tuva and Mongolia each recognising the other's independence. On 13 October 1944 Tannou Tuva was absorbed into the USSR and presumably is now part of Russia. Its capital was Kyzyl (it rhymes with fizzle), and as far as I know this is still the administrative capital of the region.

I well remember collecting Tannou Tuvan stamps myself. The brief existence of Tannou Tuva as an independent country has been a frustrating fascination for some time as it is almost impossible to obtain any information on the place.

MD Crook, Dartford


Q: What meteorological processes cause a single lone cumulus cloud to hang in an otherwise clear blue sky?

A: Localised heating of the ground beneath it most probably causes isolated cumulus clouds. Dark surfaces are better than light-coloured surfaces at absorbing solar radiation. For example, because they have a lower albedo (reflectivity), runways or urban areas absorb more solar radiation than surrounding rural areas. The warmer tarmac and concrete will conduct heat into the air in contact with it. This warm air will respond by expanding and now, less dense than the surrounding air, will rise. Air pressure falls with altitude. So, as this parcel of air rises, it expands. This leads to cooling, and if it gets cold enough, water vapour condenses to form a cumulus cloud.

This condensation also releases heat energy which can add extra impetus to the rising column of air. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.