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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
  • 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.

Next Story

Amount of Ice Circling Antarctica Plunges from Record High to Record Lows

Floating ice off the southern continent steadily increased from 1979 and hit a record high in 2014

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Ice, Antarctic, Scientists
FILE - An iceberg floats in Andvord Bay, Antarctica, Feb. 14, 2018. VOA

The amount of ice circling Antarctica is suddenly plunging from a record high to record lows, baffling scientists.

Floating ice off the southern continent steadily increased from 1979 and hit a record high in 2014. But three years later, the annual average extent of Antarctic sea ice hit its lowest mark, wiping out three-and-a-half decades of gains — and then some, a NASA study of satellite data shows.

In recent years, “things have been crazy,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. In an email, he called the plummeting ice levels “a white-knuckle ride.”

Serreze and other outside experts said they don’t know if this is a natural blip that will go away or more long-term global warming that is finally catching up with the South Pole. Antarctica hasn’t showed as much consistent warming as its northern Arctic cousin.

Ice, Antarctic, Scientists
The amount of ice circling Antarctica is suddenly plunging from a record high to record lows, baffling scientists. Pixabay

“But the fact that a change this big can happen in such a short time should be viewed as an indication that the Earth has the potential for significant and rapid change,” University of Colorado ice scientist Waleed Abdalati said in an email.

At the polar regions, ice levels grow during the winter and shrink in the summer. Around Antarctica, sea ice averaged 4.9 million square miles (12.8 million square kilometers) in 2014. By 2017, it was a record low of 4.1 million square miles (10.7 million square kilometers, according to the study in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The difference covers an area bigger than the size of Mexico. Losing that much in just three years “is pretty incredible” and faster than anything scientists have seen before, said study author Claire Parkinson, a NASA climate scientist.  Antarctic sea ice increased slightly in 2018, but still was the second lowest since 1979. Even though ice is growing this time of year in Antarctica, levels in May and June this year were the lowest on record, eclipsing 2017, according to the ice data center.

Ice melting on the ocean surface doesn’t change sea level. Non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science often had pointed at increasing Antarctic sea ice to deny or downplay the loss of Arctic sea ice.

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While the Arctic has shown consistent and generally steady warming and ice melt — with some slight year to year variation — Antarctica has had more ups and downs while generally trending upward. That is probably in part due to geography, Parkinson and Serreze said.

The Arctic is a floating ice cap on an ocean penned in by continents. Antarctica is just the opposite, with land surrounded by open ocean. That allows the ice to grow much farther out, Parkinson said.

When Antarctic sea ice was steadily rising, scientists pointed to shifts in wind and pressure patterns, ocean circulation changes or natural but regular climate changes like El Nino and its southern cousins. Now, some of those explanations may not quite fit, making what happens next still a mystery, Parkinson said. (VOA)