Thursday December 13, 2018

India’s scientific mission in Antarctica gets Rs 1051 crore ‘gift’

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

To strengthen India’s research base in Antarctica, the government today authorised the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Goa to acquire a Polar Research Vehicle (PRV) at the cost of Rs 1051 crore.

“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had approved acquisition of the Polar Research Vessel (PRV) in October last year at an estimated expenditure of over Rs. 1051 crore,” Minister of State for Earth Sciences YS Chowdary said.

He said the vessel is expected to contribute to India’s scientific expeditions and to sustain research at two Indian bases in Antarctica (Maitri and Bharti) and also dovetail research initiatives in the Southern Ocean domain in the proximal regions of the Antarctic continent.

“Taking into consideration the growing need of the scientific community to initiate studies in the frontier realms of ocean sciences, and the uncertainty in the charter-hire of polar vessels and the ever-escalating chartering costs it was decided to explore the feasibility of constructing and commissioning a polar research vessel which can cater to both the scientific and logistics aspects of the polar and Southern Ocean programmes,” the minister said, and added, that the PRV will give an expansion to our scientific activities into the Arctic and Southern Ocean.

“It could also widen the thrust on Arctic research disciplines, undertaken through Indian Station Himadri, in addition to providing a suitable research platform for other ocean research programmes,” Chowdary said.

Ever since the first Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica began way back in 1981, India has been managing the transportation of the expedition personnel and cargo to and back from Antarctica through chartered vessels.

 

 

 

 

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Arctic Had Its Second Warmest Year On Record: U.S. Agency

Trump last year announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Deal agreed by nearly 200 nations to combat climate change

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Arctic
Methane bubbles up from the thawed permafrost at the bottom of the thermokarst lake through the ice at its surface. VOA

The Arctic had its second-hottest year on record in 2018, part of a warming trend that may be dramatically changing earth’s weather patterns, according to a repor treleased on Tuesday by the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Arctic air temperatures for the past five years have exceeded all previous records since 1900,” according to the annual NOAA study, the 2018 Arctic Report Card, which said the year was second only to 2016 in overall warmth in the region.

It marks the latest in a series of warnings about climate change from U.S. government bodies, even as President Donald Trump has voiced skepticism about the phenomenon and has pushed a pro-fossil fuels agenda.

The study said the Arctic warming continues at about double the rate of the rest of the planet, and that the trend appears to be altering the shape and strength of the jet stream air current that influences weather in the Northern Hemisphere.

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Researchers look out from the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as the sun sets over sea ice in the Victoria Strait along the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, July 21, 2017. VOA

“Growing atmospheric warmth in the Arctic results in a sluggish and unusually wavy jet-stream that coincided with abnormal weather events,” it said, noting that the changing patterns have often brought unusually frigid temperatures to areas south of the Arctic Circle.

Some examples are “a swarm of severe winter storms in the eastern United States in 2018, and the extreme cold outbreak in Europe in March 2018 known as ‘the Beast from the East.'”

Environmentalists have long warned of rapid warming in the Arctic, saying it threatens imperiled species like polar bears, and is a harbinger of the broader impacts of climate change on the planet.

Scientists have warned that the region could suffer trillions of dollars worth of climate change-related damage to infrastructure in the coming decades.

But the melting of Arctic ice has piqued the interests of polar nations like the United States, Canada and Russia by opening new shipping routes and expanding access to a region believed to be rich in petroleum and minerals.

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FILE – A young polar bear walks on ice over deep waters of the Arctic Ocean. (Credit: Shawn Harper) VOA

The United States and Russia have both expressed an interest in boosting Arctic drilling, and Russia has bolstered its military presence in the north.

The NOAA report comes weeks after more than a dozen U.S. government agencies released a study concluding that climate change is driven by human consumption of fossil fuels and will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.

Also Read: Climate Change Left Its Fingerprint On The Most Extreme Disasters in 2017

Trump, who has been rolling back Obama-era environmental and climate protections to maximize production of domestic fossil fuels, said of the update to the National Climate Assessment: “I don’t believe it.”

Trump last year announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Deal agreed by nearly 200 nations to combat climate change, arguing the accord would kill jobs and provide little tangible environmental benefit. (VOA)