Researchers to set sail to Antarctic Ocean to study change in climateUpdated: Jan 07, 2020 00:34 IST
For the next two months, a team of Indian researchers will undertake a scientific expedition in the Southern Ocean – Antarctic Ocean – that aims at improving predictions of future climate by reducing uncertainties and increasing accuracies in climate models.
Starting January 9, 34 researchers will be onboard oceanographic research vessel SA Agulhas that will navigate from Mauritius and will sail close to the Antarctic coast.
The team will collect air and water samples from around 60 stations along the cruise track, which will provide vital information on the state of the ocean and atmosphere in this remote environment and help understand its impacts on the climate.
Researchers representing 18 scientific institutions and universities said the main aim of the project is to try and understand the formation of the bottom waters in the Antarctic Ocean. “We need good quantification on how they form because these cold waters are one of the major drivers contributing to the global ocean current,” said Anoop Mahajan, who is leading the expedition and is a scientist at the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
The team will also collect sediment samples that will help in reconstructing paleoenvironmental conditions for selected time slices during the last glacial-interglacial cycles to provide perspectives on future climate change. “Using the soil and certain proxies in the soil, we can construct a past climate that will help us to see how these Antarctic bottom waters got formed in the past,” said Mahajan.
While some samples will be analysed onboard SA Agulhas, those requiring sophisticated instruments will be investigated on the team’s return to India.
The Indian Southern Ocean Research Programme was initiated in 2004 by the ministry of earth sciences to understand how the Southern Ocean, the least sampled ocean in the world, is affected by climate change and how it affects climate change.