India’s 35-year-old Antarctic research station is in dire need of an upgrade, polar center director says

One of India’s Antarctic research stations, Maitri, which has been in operation for over 35 years, is in dire need of an upgrade, the work of which is being conducted by the National Center for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), said Mirza Javed Beg, director of the center. .

India has two operational research stations at the South Pole: Maitri and Bharati. Dakshin Gangotri, the first station built before 1985, now functions as a transit base camp mainly for supplying goods.

Every year trips coordinated by NCPOR are sent to Antarctica with Indian scientists, meteorologists and researchers. Between seasons, they spend a month to a year collecting on-site samples, maintaining equipment, and performing other scientific activities.

“The Maitri station, which is more than 35 years old, urgently needs to be renovated. NCPOR is focused on the same thing,” said Beg. the indian express via email on the occasion of Earth Day, which is celebrated on April 22nd.

Constructed in 1988-1989 for a ten year period, Maitri is an important station allowing scientists to collect geological, meteorological and geophysical data. This data is useful for understanding climate change and other scientific fields and drawing timely conclusions. Therefore, the continuation of your operations is of crucial importance.

According to the plan proposed by the Ministry of Geosciences (MoES), the process to identify a more favorable and environmentally friendly site is underway. Once the station’s renovation is complete, it will be a green facility capable of accommodating more scientists in both summer and winter. Given the harsh weather conditions and increasing research opportunities that require international collaboration, building the third research station is not feasible, Beg said.

“For a huge continent like Antarctica, it is certainly not enough to have only two stations for research areas. But at the same time, building more stations is also not a viable option. In addition, research activities can be carried out through collaborations with other countries that have similar areas of interest,” added Beg.

The United States, United Kingdom, France, Chile, Belgium, Australia and Germany are some of the major countries with multiple research stations at the South Pole.

Since the United Nations designated 2021-2030 as the Decade of Marine Sciences for Sustainable Development, there have been a number of initiatives, including improving coastal livelihoods, protecting the sea and oceans, raising awareness of the oceans and restoring coral reefs, aiming to grow the ingenuity of the oceans

The NCPOR, Beg said, is the node agency for the national project, titled Mapping India’s Exclusive Economic Zone. With the help of two collaborating institutions, the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Goa and the MoES-National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai, studies are currently being carried out to identify hotspots along the 7,500 km long Indian coast.

“Together we surveyed and mapped the exclusive economic zone of India. The data generated will serve as baseline data for future studies,” he said.

India is one of the few countries with its own marine missions. Two years ago, India announced a Rs.4 billion deep sea mission to be led by the MoES. As part of this mission, scientists will engage in deep-sea mining, launch a manned submersible, develop climate change technologies and advisory services for deep-sea biodiversity research and conservation, conduct deep-sea studies, and set up a marine marine biology station. in the Indian Ocean. India has also announced projects that will contribute to the blue economy planned for the next decade.

As the third largest ocean, exploring the Indian Ocean is of immense importance. The studies are also important as it enjoys a unique location that provides important shipping routes for some of the largest economies in the Asian region.

“Besides trade, scientific research and exploration in the Indian Ocean are key to understanding its response to climate change, earthquakes, tsunamis and other hazards. The scientific research is also deepening our understanding of how human activities are affecting the Indian Ocean,” said the NCPOR Director.

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