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A bizarre Indian Post Office At The Antarctic Circle

The Dakshin Gangotri Post Office was established under the Department of Post Office at Goa on January 26, 1988.

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Almost 98 percent of the Antarctica is covered with ice over there. Wikimedia Commons
Almost 98 percent of the Antarctica is covered with ice over there. Wikimedia Commons
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  • The temperature Antarctic Circle varies from -25 degrees to -128 degrees
  • The Post Office was part of the research place known as Dakshin Gangotri
  • India has two research stations at Antarctic Circle namely ‘Maitri’ and ‘Bharati’

NEW DELHI: The Antarctic is the southernmost continent of the earth and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere. The entire place is surrounded by the Southern Ocean and almost 98 percent of the land is covered with ice over there.

The Antarctic is considered as the coldest, driest, and windiest continent. The temperature Antarctic Circle varies from -25 degrees to -128 degrees. This makes it an inhabitable place to survive but there are almost 4000-5000 people of different nations are stationed here on various research shelters.

The temperature Antarctic Circle varies from -25 degrees to -128 degrees. Wikimedia Commons
The temperature Antarctic Circle varies from -25 degrees to -128 degrees. Wikimedia Commons

So, to have Post Office at such a place in the age of social media networking is quite weird. Isn’t it?

Once, India had a Post Office in the remote area of Antarctic Circle. The Post Office was part of the research place known as Dakshin Gangotri. It was set up during the third Indian expedition to the Antarctic but after six years of rigorous service, the place was decommissioned. The whole place got buried under the heavy blanket so snow and is now marked as a historical site.

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The Post Office was part of multiple support systems at Dakshin Gangotri. The other facilities included an ice-melting plant, accommodation, recreation facilities, laboratories, storage, accommodation, recreation facilities, a clinic and a bank counter.

The Post Office was part of the research place known as Dakshin Gangotri. Wikimedia Commons
The Post Office was part of the research place known as Dakshin Gangotri. Wikimedia Commons

The Dakshin Gangotri Post Office was established under the Department of Post Office at Goa on January 26, 1988. Scientist G. Sudhakar Rao was appointed as the first Honorary Postmaster. He had gone to the Antarctic as a member of the Seventh Indian Scientific Expedition in 1987. In the very first year of its foundation, almost 10,000 letters were posted and cancelled in the Dakshin Gangotri post office.

Presently, India has two research stations at Antarctic Circle namely ‘Maitri’ and ‘Bharati’. Bharti station was constructed and established in March 2013. Here, Indian scientists are stationed to understand the Polar processes and phenomenon. Whereas, Maitri station was structured long ago in 1989 and it is still going strong.

India has two research stations at Antarctica Circle namely ‘Maitri’ and ‘Bharati’. Wikimedia Commons
India has two research stations at Antarctic Circle namely ‘Maitri’ and ‘Bharati’. Wikimedia Commons

To serve the personnel at such a long location through a Post Office is really a daunting task.

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Banned Chemical Responsible For Antarctic Ozone Hole

After considering a number of possible causes, researchers concluded that CFC emissions must have increased after 2012.

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Emissions of a banned chemical most responsible for the giant Antarctic ozone hole are on the rise, according to a study which suggests that an international treaty that required an end to its production in 2010 is being violated.
Ozone Hole Representational Image. Pixabay

Emissions of a banned chemical most responsible for the giant Antarctic ozone hole are on the rise, according to a study which suggests that an international treaty that required an end to its production in 2010 is being violated.

Trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, is the second-most abundant ozone-depleting gas in the atmosphere and a member of the family of chemicals most responsible for the giant hole in the ozone layer that forms over Antarctica each September.

Once widely used as a foaming agent, production of CFC-11 was phased out by the Montreal Protocol in 2010.

The new study, published in the journal Nature, documents an unexpected increase in emissions of this gas, likely from new, unreported production.

“We’re raising a flag to the global community to say, ‘This is what’s going on, and it is taking us away from timely recovery from ozone depletion,'” said Stephen Montzka, scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Further work is needed to figure out exactly why emissions of CFC-11 are increasing and if something can be done about it soon,” said Montzka.

CFCs were once widely used in the manufacture of aerosol sprays, as blowing agents for foams and packing materials, as solvents, and as refrigerants.

Though production of CFCs was phased out by the Montreal Protocol, a large reservoir of CFC-11 exists today primarily contained in foam insulation in buildings, and appliances manufactured before the mid-1990s. A smaller amount of CFC-11 also exists today in chillers.

Since CFC-11 still accounts for one-quarter of all chlorine present in today’s stratosphere, expectations for the ozone hole to heal by mid-century depend on an accelerating decline of CFC-11 in the atmosphere as its emissions diminish – which should happen with no new CFC-11 production.

Emissions of a banned chemical most responsible for the giant Antarctic ozone hole are on the rise, according to a study which suggests that an international treaty that required an end to its production in 2010 is being violated.
Chemical Emission is the main reason of the hole in Ozone layer above Antarctica. Pixabay

Despite the increase in CFC-11 emissions, its concentration in the atmosphere continues to decrease, but only about half as fast as the decline observed a few years ago, and at a substantially slower rate than expected.

This means that the total concentration of ozone-depleting chemicals, overall, is still decreasing in the atmosphere. However, that decrease is significantly slower than it would be without the new CFC emissions.

Precise measurements of global atmospheric concentrations of CFC-11 made by scientists at 12 remote sites around the globe show that CFC-11 concentrations declined at an accelerating rate prior to 2002 as expected.

Then the rate of decline hardly changed over the decade that followed. Even more unexpected was that the rate of decline slowed by 50 per cent after 2012.

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After considering a number of possible causes, researchers concluded that CFC emissions must have increased after 2012.

This conclusion was confirmed by other changes recorded in NOAA’s measurements during the same period, such as a widening difference between CFC-11 concentrations in the northern and southern hemispheres – evidence that the new source was somewhere north of the equator.

Measurements from Hawaii indicate the sources of the increasing emissions are likely in eastern Asia. More work will be needed to narrow down the locations of these new emissions, Montzka said. (IANS)