First Winter Scientific Arctic Expedition Launched

  • Launched by the Union Minister, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Mr Kiren Rijiju.
  • India’s first winter scientific expedition to the Arctic from the MoES headquarters in New Delhi.

Benefits:

  • It will allow researchers to conduct unique scientific observations during polar nights, where there is no sunlight for nearly 24 hours and sub-zero temperatures (as low as -15 degrees Celsius).
  • This will aid in expanding understanding of the Arctic, especially climate change, space weather, sea-ice and ocean circulation dynamics, ecosystem adaptations, etc., which affect weather and climate in the tropics, including monsoons.

Background:

  • Since 2008, India has operated a research base in the Arctic named Himadri, hosting scientists during the summer (April to October).
  • The decision to facilitate winter expeditions comes after a review of India’s Arctic activities at Himadri, Ny-Ålesund, and Svalbard in the Norwegian Arctic, in June 2023.

The Expeditions:

  • The first batch comprises researchers from the host NCPOR, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi; Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune; and Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru.
  • Research areas include atmospheric, biological, marine, and space sciences, environmental chemistry, and studies on cryosphere, terrestrial ecosystems, and astrophysics.
  • Indian scientific expeditions to the Earth’s poles (the Arctic and the Antarctic) are facilitated under the PACER (Polar and Cryosphere) scheme of the MoES, through the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, an autonomous institution of the MoES.
Posted in Current Affairs.