Indian research base ‘Bharati’3000 km east of Maitri.image courtesy:NCAOR

The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, organises the Indian Scientific Mission to Antarctica every year and ISRO has been participating for a long time.

The NCAOR and the Department of Ocean Development select the members for India’s Antarctic expeditions.One expedition costs up to ₹200 million (US$3.0 million).The Indian Antarctic program is bound by the rules of the Antarctic Treaty System,which India signed in 1983.

This year, in the 36th Indian scientific expedition, two teams from ISRO (one from Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad with two members and another from National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad with four researchers) are participating.

Four researchers   from NRSC are also participating in the 36-ISEA. Three of them have participated in voyage, carrying out scientific observations on board ship enrouted to Antarctica on green house gases and aerosols. The team have carried out measurements at Bharati and Maitri stations and also covering transaction between Bharati and Maitri station (about 3000 KM).

Apart from collecting field data, the team at SAC also monitored sea ice status near Bharati and Maitri coasts of Antarctica using real time satellite data from newly launched SCATSAT-1 and other satellites, for accurate navigation of expedition ship.

Environmental change is the pushed zone of the 36th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica (36-ISEA).

The fundamental target of this endeavor is to introduce stakes on ice for Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) estimations around Bharati and Maitri to approve icy mass surface speed got from satellite information to gauge thickness of snow over land and ocean ice utilizing Ground Penetrating Radars (GPR’s) and furthermore to confirm states of snow over ocean and land ice.

The undertaking group completed helicopter based elevated overviews and gathered information over the Antarctica ice sheet, quick ice, and ocean ice floe. Bamboo stakes were introduced over Polar Record icy mass for measuring ice sheet surface ice speed.

The exact directions of these stakes were recorded utilizing DGPS. GPR information of different Antarctic ice components was gathered at three distinct frequencies of 400 MHz, 500 MHz, and 1GHz. It might be noticed that 500 MHz GPR was indigenously created by Space Applications Center(SAC).

The core research activities in the area of climate change studies and Atmospheric studies are the following:

Study of snow melt/freeze dynamics in Antarctica using space based and ground based observations:The observations included snow density, wetness and profile temperature in 26 pits dug on sheet ice.

Measurements of Atmospheric Black Carbon (BC), GHGs and solar radiation fluxes at Antarctica on a long-term basis:The objectives of the project are to generate base line concentrations of atmospheric constituents such as CO2, CH4, H2O, which are being measured by ultra portable Greenhouse Gas Analyser/Licor CO2 analyser.

Image measurements of visibility to investigate atmospheric parameters : The objectives of the project are to estimate atmospheric visibility in horizontal and vertical (zenith) direction; estimation of atmospheric extinction in horizontal and vertical directions using CCD camera equipped with low power laser and laptop.

Study on long term precipitation over Antarctica using surface and space-based measurements :The objective of the project is to understand the inter-annual variability of precipitation by direct measurements of Antarctic precipitation features such as the frequency, the phase, and the snowfall rate and also validation of CloudSat satellite data retrievals of precipitation over Antarctica.

The Data analysis shows the reduction of the sea ice in the India Bay region (information used as a part of sea ice advisory)