All About India’s First Winter Expedition To The Arctic

India is achieving milestones in scientific progress. From rocketing to the moon and the sun, to diving deep in the oceans, it is now time to flag off the polar regions. 

India’s maiden expedition to the Arctic region began on 19th December, 2023 and will run until 15th January, 2024. The month-long expedition, made up of four scientists, is being led by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) and is funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences. 

When Did The Story Begin? 

India’s engagement with the Arctic dates back to 1920, when the Svalbard Treaty was signed in Paris. It launched its first scientific expedition there in 2007. It then set up The Himadri Research Station, in Ny Alesund, in Norway, becoming one of the few countries having a permanent research station in the Arctic.


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In 2014, a multisensory observatory was deployed by India in Kongsfjorden, an inlet in the Arctic Ocean. 

In 2016, India’s northernmost atmospheric laboratory was established at Gruvebadet to study clouds, long-range pollutants and other background atmospheric parameters. 

In March 2022, the Indian government launched The Arctic Policy so as to bolster India’s engagement in the Arctic region for climate research, environmental monitoring, maritime cooperation and energy security.

The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), under The Ministry of Earth Sciences, will serve as the nodal agency in implementing the Arctic policy. 

What Is The Purpose Of Studying The Arctic Region? 

Arctic warming and its changes are already impacting us, with clear evidence suggesting that many of the extreme precipitation events happening in India have their origin in the loss of Arctic sea ice. Our studies also revealed that the increased intensification of Arabian Sea cyclones is associated with a warmer Arctic,” said Thamban Meloth, director, National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research. 

Scientifically, the Arctic is very important to India. There is a strong Arctic-Indian monsoon relationship. We need to understand its dynamics better, and ensure models depict this relationship very well. The other issue is the impact of global warming on the Arctic — the most vulnerable due to global warming. In view of Arctic Amplification of warming, sea ice melting and effects on its marine environment,” the former Secretary of The Ministry of Earth Science, M. Rajeevan said.

India’s First Winter Expedition To The Arctic

A team of four scientists, namely, Athulya R from NCPOR, Girish B S from Raman Research Institute, Prashant Rawat from IIT Mandi and Surendra Singh from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, are spearheading the expedition. 

India will have around-the-year manning of the Arctic in its first-ever winter expedition in the region, making Himadri only the fourth research station in the Arctic to be manned around the year. 

Bengaluru’s Raman Research Institute (RRI), said that this will be for the first time that researchers will examine the characterisation of the radio frequency environment in the Svalbard region of the Arctic. Experiments will also be conducted on astronomy, climate change and atmospheric science in the Arctic region. 

A survey of the radio frequency environment will be carried out at Svalbard. This has never been done before in the Arctic region and has a potential to open avenues for deploying low frequency radio telescopes in the region.

EdTimes wishes the team all the best for the endeavour! 

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: The Hindu, The Indian Express, The Times of India

Find the blogger: Unusha Ahmad

This post is tagged under: Arctic, Arctic region, first winter expedition, four scientists, Chandrayaan, IITM, Himadri, research, India

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