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India's First Winter Scientific Expedition to the Arctic



  Feb 22, 2024

India's First Winter Scientific Expedition to the Arctic



What is the purpose of India's first winter scientific expedition to the Arctic?

The expedition aims to conduct unique scientific observations during the Arctic's polar nights, focusing on climate change, space weather, sea-ice and ocean circulation dynamics, ecosystem adaptations, and their impact on global weather patterns, including monsoons.

When was the expedition flagged off, and who flagged it off?

The expedition was flagged off on December 18, 2023, by the Honourable Union Minister, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Sh Kiren Rijiju, from the MoES headquarters in New Delhi.

How long will the scientists stay in the Arctic, and what are their main research areas?

The scientists will stay for about 25 days, conducting experiments in various disciplines including the evolution of the universe, climate change impacts on Arctic winter, atmospheric lightning phenomena, and the role of atmospheric aerosols in polar climate.

Where is India's research base in the Arctic located?

India operates a research base named Himadri in the International Arctic Research base at Svalbard, Norway, approximately 1,200 km from the North Pole.

How does this winter expedition differ from India's previous Arctic expeditions?

Previously, Indian scientific expeditions to the Arctic were conducted only during the summer months (April to October). This winter expedition allows for research during the polar nights, offering a new opportunity for scientific observations that were not possible during the summer due to continuous daylight and different environmental conditions.

What challenges do scientists face during the winter expedition?

Scientists face several challenges, including adapting to the polar nights with no sunlight for weeks, extreme cold temperatures around -15°C, and the logistical challenges of conducting research in such conditions.

How will the winter expedition benefit scientific understanding of the Arctic and global climate?

The expedition will bridge data gaps in understanding the Arctic's winter ecosystem, climate change effects, and their broader implications on global climate patterns, including tropical weather systems and monsoons. It provides valuable data on atmospheric, oceanic, and ecological dynamics during the Arctic winter, enhancing our understanding of these complex systems.

Are there plans for more winter expeditions to the Arctic?

Yes, following this maiden winter expedition, three more batches of Indian scientists will visit the Arctic during the winter season, each staying for about 25 days, to cover the full span of the Arctic winter for continued research.


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