Indian scientists on 41st expedition to Antarctica will obtain deep ice to study past climate conditions
The joint expedition of Indo-UK-Norway study with India’s National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), British Antarctic Survey (BAS), and Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), the Indian scientists from the 41st expedition to Antarctica has embarked upon a multi-year study of the movement of deep ice sheets near the coast to understand the past climate, which in turn, will help understand how it will change in decades to come.
Indian scientists would for the first time drill up to 500 meters and pull put ice cores (cylindrical ice bars) that are repositories of information of the past climate events for long years duration.
“This helps us study the past climate of up to 10,000 years through ice cores that have trapped CO2 from the atmosphere from past.
Called SIWHA or ‘Sea Ice and Westerly winds during the Holocene in coastal Antarctica,’ it is a joint Indo-UK-Norway study with India’s National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), British Antarctic Survey (BAS), and Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) as collaborators.
“The 41st expedition is already at Antarctica. A team is carrying out a geophysical survey to assess correct places to drill. By next year, they will be ready with data that can tell us where exactly to drill. Drilling will start in 2022-23 season,” said NCPOR, Director, Group Director (Polar Science), Dr. Thamban Meloth.
“The drilling will be done nearer to the coast with a specific reason to understand how the Southern Ocean which takes so much of carbon dioxide, which changed in the past. It would have a meaning for us to understand how it will change in the coming decades,” Meloth added.
Collecting the ice cores from near the coast is important and much more challenging as it is much warmer around Antarctica. “So, we need to take it from the right place actually to activate it to understand the properties below the ice.”
Specialized equipment, ground-penetrating radar, helps the team identify the ice layering and the bedrock, during the geophysical survey.
The NCPOR has been carrying out studies related to ice cores for a few years now but it was limited to 100-150 meters. It is only now that digging will be done for the first time till 500 meters. The fragile ice cores are carefully stored and brought back to NCPOR maintaining minus 20 degrees temperature. To whichever depth digging is done, the cores are collected at every meter. (E.g., a dig of 150 meters will result in 150 ice cores).
For analysis of the cores, the cores are cut in half horizontally. One-half is sent into an archive. Ice cores are also cut into 5 cm thick slices, each of which reveals climate features from that particular time/ age.
In general, the world’s oceans absorb 90 percent of more heat that is released from burning fossil fuels and much carbon dioxide. And of that, the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica can be termed as the primary storage house for both heat and CO2. So, anything that changes in Antarctica can have an impact on the global climate.
Specialized equipment called the ground-penetrating radar which will tell us the ice layering and the bedrock, how they are placed. All that information we will get through the geophysical survey.
[With Inputs from IANS]
PGurus is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with all the latest news and views
For all the latest updates, download PGurus App.
- AIADMK moves Madras HC for CBI probe into Rs.500 cr ‘Pongal gift hamper scam’ - January 25, 2022
- T-Series, Hungama enter metaverse with NFTs; Lakshmi Manchu also takes her opening step - January 24, 2022
- WeChat account of Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison taken over and renamed, Australia accuses China - January 24, 2022