Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (ISEA)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : India's polar mission

Mains level : Climate change impact on cryosphere

40th Indian Scientific Expedition is set to depart for Antarctica from Mormugao Port, Goa.

Try this question:

Q.How does the cryosphere affect global climate? (150W, CSM 2018)

Indian mission on the Antarctic

  • The Indian Antarctic Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional program under the control of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • It was initiated in 1981 with the first Indian expedition to Antarctica.
  • The program gained global acceptance with India’s signing of the Antarctic Treaty and subsequent construction of the Dakshin Gangotri Antarctic research base in 1983, superseded by the Maitri base from 1990.
  • The newest base commissioned in 2015 is Bharati, constructed out of 134 shipping containers.

Its significance

  • This 40th expedition is procuring fuel from India after about 22 years. Till the last expedition, fuel was being obtained from outside the country.
  • Indian Oil Co. Ltd. has supplied aviation fuel, Jet A1 in bulk and packed form to a non-aviation customer and is delivered to an ocean-going vessel for the first time.

Why need such a mission?

  • Polar Regions are crucially important in answering key questions about global climate change.
  • It contributes towards the global sea-level rise, the background aerosol properties, variability in the sea ice cover and phenomena like Antarctic haze and ozone concentrations.
  • Attempts to address some of these issues are helping in mitigating several important problems concerning human life and well-being.

Back2Basics: India’s polar missions

  • The first Indian expedition to Antarctica sailed from Goa on December 6, 1981, and reached the shores of this polar continent on January 9, 1982.
  • India has two stations in the polar continent of Antarctica – Maitri and Bharati, which are being operated under NCPOR, Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Indian mission on the Arctic

  • Himadri Station is India’s first Arctic research station located at Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway. It is located at the International Arctic Research base, Ny-Ålesund.
  • It was inaugurated on the 1st of July, 2008 by the Minister of Earth Sciences. It is followed by IndARC.
  • The United States Geological Survey estimates that 22% of the world’s oil and natural gas could be located beneath the Arctic.
  • ONGC Videsh has signed joint-venture with Russia for oil exploration there.

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