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NIO scientists visit Arctic region for climate change studies
A team of NIO's researchers - Drs. S. Prasanna Kumar, Scientist G; (Ms.) Jayu Narvekar, Project Associate; Mr. Byju
Bhaskar, Junior Research Fellow; Ms. Arati Verenkar and Mr. C. Muthukumar Project Assistants - visited the Kongsforden system of Arctic region to collect data for climate change studies during 14 May to 8 June 2011. This visit was a part of a programme funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), New Delhi.
The team had camped at the Indian Arctic Station - "Himadri" (photo on right) in Ny-Alesund, Spitbergen and collocated data of physical, chemical and biological parameters from the Kongsforden Fjord in the Arctic. (Fjord is a long inlet with steep sides (cliff) created in a valley carved by glacier activity).
To the question, "Why should we understand the Arctic region?" Dr. Prasanna kumar replied, "The effects of climatic change are more prominently seen at Arctic and therefore such studies are not only important to India but to the whole community on this planet". He further added, "The rapidly receding glacier cover in the Arctic in the present decade is a serious concern. Since Arctic seas and land mass together accounts for about 25% of world’s carbon sink, the melting of glaciers and ice cover from fjords would mean a less efficient carbon sink. This means that Arctic will lose its ability to absorb large amount of carbon dioxide thereby accelerating the global warming process".
The physical, chemical and biological data collected by the Indian team and their plan for a long-term monitoring of the fjord will enable the scientists to quantify the rate of change and to understand - will and how soon Arctic become ice free - a concern shared by sizable number of scientists. This team was led by Dr. S Rajan from National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR).
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