Climate Change

40th Indian scientific expedition to Antarctica launched

Apart from its scientific mission, the expedition shall carry out the humanitarian responsibility of relieving the 48-strong winter crew from their 15-month tenure

By India Science Wire
Published: Tuesday 05 January 2021

The 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (ISEA) departed for the South Pole from Mormugao Port, Goa with 43 members on board, January 5, 2021.

India has two stations on the polar continent of Antarctica — Maitri and Bharati — which are being operated under the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.

The 40th ISEA team of scientists, engineers, doctors, and technicians, is led by three polar veterans — Yogesh Ray from NCPOR, Atul Suresh Kulkarni from Indian Institute of Geomagnetism and Ravindra Santosh More from India Meteorological Department.

They will have different roles and responsibilities of managing the voyage operations. Bharati base operations and Maitri base operations share a common goal of rewriting the success story of the Indian Antarctic Programme under this year’s special circumstances. Cautious steps have been taken to avoid contraction and spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on board the expedition vessel and the virus reaching Antarctica.

Highlighting the pivotal role of NCPOR in this vital mission, M Ravichandran, sirector, NCPOR said, “Polar regions are crucially important in answering key questions about global climate change, its contribution towards global sea-level rise, the background aerosol properties, variability in the sea ice cover and phenomena like Antarctic haze and ozone concentrations. Attempts to address some of these issues are helping in mitigating several important problems concerning human life and well-being.” 

N Vinod Kumar, postmaster general, Goa region, released two special covers and one cancellation to commemorate the 40th ISEA and the four decades of India’s Antarctica programme, respectively.

Javed Beg, group director, NCPOR said, “Every expedition is different and presents diverse challenges, but the 40th expedition is unique, as it takes place amid the coronavirus pandemic with innumerable logistical challenges. The expedition, apart from its scientific mission, shall carry out the humanitarian responsibility of relieving the 48-strong winter crew from their 15-month tenure, while resupplying the bases with food, fuel, provisions and spares for operations and maintenance of life support systems”. (India Science Wire)

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