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India's Arctic Observatory to Aid Climate Change Studies
Sep 22, 2014

Deep in the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean, an Indian observatory is quietly churning out data that is expected to help scientists understand the Arctic climate process and its influence on the Indian monsoon system. The deployment of IndARC, the country’s first underwater moored observatory in the Kongsfjorden fjord, half way between Norway and the North Pole, represents a major milestone in India’s scientific endeavours in the Arctic region. 

Designed and developed by scientists from the Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO), National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), IndARC was deployed from RV Lance, a research vessel belonging to the Norwegian Polar Institute on July 23.

The observatory is anchored at a depth of 192 metre and has an array of 10 state-of-the-art oceanographic sensors strategically positioned at various depths in the water. The sensors are programmed to collect real-time data on seawater temperature, salinity, ocean currents and other vital parameters of the fjord. 

The Kongsfjorden is considered a natural laboratory for studying the Arctic climate variability. Scientists predict that melting of the Arctic glaciers will trigger changes in weather patterns and ocean currents that could affect other parts of the world.

The interaction between the Arctic ice shelf and the deep sea and its influence on climate shift requires detailed studies over an annual seasonal cycle. One of the major constraints in such a study has been the difficulty in reaching the location to collect data during the harsh Arctic winter. The IndARC observatory is an attempt to overcome this lacuna.


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