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PIB Summary for UPSC

24-April-2024

1. New NCPOR study attempts to resolve the Mystery of extremely low sea ice cover in Antarctic

Topic: GS1 – Geography – Climate Change – Changes in ice caps

GS3 – Environment and Ecology – Environmental pollution and degradation

The topic is crucial for UPSC as it addresses climate change impacts on polar regions, requiring understanding for policymaking.

Context:
The study reveals unprecedented hindrance in Antarctic ice expansion and retreat in 2023, attributed to ocean-atmospheric warming and wind pattern changes.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Study led by Dr. Babula Jena & colleagues revealed unprecedented hindrance in Antarctic ice expansion & retreat in 2023.
  • Antarctic experienced low sea ice conditions each summer from 2016 to 2023.
  • Slow ice expansion in 2023 was attributed to excessive upper-ocean heat & significant atmospheric circulation changes.
  • Change in wind patterns, including the deepening of the Amundsen Sea Low & its eastward shift, played a crucial role.
  • Record strengthening of an atmospheric block led to rapid changes in ice extent in the Ross Sea.
  • Exceptional ocean-atmospheric warming, changes in winds, heat fluxes, and polar cyclones contributed to the record low ice conditions.
  • Significant impacts expected on global warming amplification, Southern Ocean life, regional ecosystem, ocean circulation, ice shelf stability, and sea level rise.
  • Difficulty assessing long-term decline due to short satellite observation records (~45 years).
  • Anthropogenic factors likely contribute to observed ice extent decrease alongside natural climate variability.
  • Further investigation needed to understand the interaction between anthropogenic forcing and climate variability in the region.
About National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR)

● The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) is India’s premier research and development institution.

It operates under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

NCPOR is responsible for coordinating India’s research activities in polar and ocean sciences.

● It conducts scientific expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic regions.

The centre focuses on studying various aspects of polar and ocean environments, including climate change, biodiversity, and oceanography.

● NCPOR also contributes to international collaborations and initiatives in polar research.

● It plays a crucial role in advancing scientific understanding and informing policy decisions related to polar and oceanic regions.

About The Indian Antarctic Programme

●  The Indian Antarctic Programme, under NCPOR, began in 1981 for scientific research and exploration in Antarctica.

●  NCPOR, established in 1998, coordinates and executes polar and southern ocean research along with logistics activities.

Dakshin Gangotri was India’s first research base in Antarctica, now serving as a supply base.

Maitri, established in 1989, is India’s second permanent research station, located in Schirmacher Oasis with Lake Priyadarshini.

Bharti, operational since 2012, is India’s latest research facility, ensuring safety in harsh weather conditions.

Sagar Nidhi, commissioned in 2008, is an ice-class vessel for Antarctic research, capable of navigating through thin ice.

PYQ: How does the melting of the Arctic ice and glaciers of the Antarctic differently affect the weather patterns and human activities on the Earth? Explain. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2021)
Practice Question:  Discuss the implications of the unprecedented hindrance in Antarctic ice expansion and retreat in 2023, highlighting its significance for global climate change mitigation strategies. (150 Words /10 marks)

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