Does Arctic climate impact Indian monsoon?
By Richa Sharma, New Delhi, Feb 10 : How does climatic change in polar region impact Indian monsoon? To understand this, India is planning a major initiative with 10 other nations.
"India is planning a major programme on impact of changes in polar regions on the Indian monsoon," Ministry of Earth Sciences secretary Shailesh Nayak told IANS in an interview.
He said a concept note has been prepared and will be discussed during the Belmont Forum meeting in New Delhi Feb 27-28.
The forum is a group of the world's major and emerging economies and funders of global environmental change research and international science councils.
"Changes in the Arctic region do impact Indian monsoon and it is important to study how it impacts the Asian subcontinent, especially India," Nayak said.
There is no scientific evidence but according to researchers, climate change has impacted the monsoon with extreme weather events such as excess rainfall or drought in the last few years.
Several studies have found that global warming has led to melting of the Arctic sea ice and it could affect Indian monsoon.
The region is also of special significance to the subcontinent as several studies have shown that there exists a connection between the northern polar region and Indian monsoon, which forms the backbone of Indian economy.
India already has a strong presence in Antarctica for over 30 years. In view of the scientific and logistic expertise gained over the years in the Southern Hemisphere, the country is now in a position to play an active role in a bi-hemispherical approach to polar sciences.
India started its first permanent research station, Dakshin Gangotri, in Antarctica in 1983. It was de-commissioned after it got buried under ice and has been marked as an historic site.
The second station, Maitri, was opened in 1988-89 while a third station, Bharti, became operational last year.
On the North Pole, India's permanent research station, Himadri, was opened in 2008.
Goa-based National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), research and development wing of the earth sciences ministry, is the nodal agency to plan, formulate, coordinate and implement India's polar programme as a multi-institutional national endeavour.
India is also a member of the International Arctic Science Committee, a non-governmental organisation that aims to encourage, facilitate and promote cooperation in all aspects of Arctic research in all countries engaged in Arctic research and in all areas of the Arctic region.
Arctic Ocean and the surrounding regions in North Pole are one of the most important areas that not only govern the earth's climate but also faithfully record its past climatic history.
"The region is also an excellent harbinger of future change, because the signals or clues that signify climate change are so much stronger in the Arctic than elsewhere on the planet," said Nayak.
(Richa Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)