India is aiming for high-powered research in the polar region to help locate vital clues on global climate change and its effect on monsoon fluctuations. For the first time, Indian scientists last month collected systematic continuous data for a year from Arctic waters.
A team of scientists from the ESSO-National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and the ESSO-National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) successfully recovered ‘IndARC’, India’s first multi-sensor moored observatory in the Kongsfjorden fjord of the Arctic Ocean. It was deployed in July last year, roughly halfway between Norway and the North Pole. After retrieving data, the sensors were deployed again.
“The Arctic observatory deployed in submerged conditions to record continuous real-time in-situ data for one year was successfully retrieved.
All the sensors worked successfully, collecting more than 10 lakh data points. The data and preliminary observations are promising,” said Dr R Venkatesan, head of the NIOT team.
Last year, the Cabinet had cleared a decision for India to purchase a vessel for polar research.
“We are in the final stage of signing with the company in Spain. Until now we were hiring vessels from the international market, mainly Russia, but they were only used as cargo ships for transporting people and material. Our new vessel will have inbuilt research labs allowing scientists to conduct research onboard,” Shailesh Nayak, secretary to the ministry of Earth sciences, told HT.
The other major research areas for India are the study of climate change, and microbiological research in the Antarctic. NCAOR scientists are studying and carrying out scientific analysis of a 100m ice core brought last year.