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Pacer Initiative

  • Published
    25th Mar, 2022
Context

The Polar Science and Cryosphere (PACER) scheme has been approved for continuation during 2021-2026.

About

About Polar Science and Cryosphere Research (PACER) scheme:

  • Polar Science and Cryosphere Research (PACER) scheme comprising the Antarctic program, Indian Arctic program, Southern Ocean program and Cryosphere and Climate program is implemented successfully through National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR).
  • PACER encompasses the following six components:
    • Construction of polar research vessel
    • Construction of the third research base in Antarctica
    • Indian scientific endeavours in the Arctic
    • Polar expeditions-Antarctica
    • Replacement of Maitri station
    • Southern Ocean

About National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR):

  • National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) is India’s premier R&D institution responsible for the country’s research activities in the Polar and Southern Ocean realms.
  • NCPOR is an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • The mandate of NCPOR is multi-dimensional:
    • Leadership role in niche areas of scientific research in the domain of polar and ocean sciences.
    • Lead role in the geoscientific surveys of the country’s EEZ and its extended continental shelf beyond 200m, deep-sea drilling in the Arabian Sea basin through the IODP, exploration for ocean non-living resources such as the gas hydrates and multi-metal sulphides in mid-ocean ridges.
    • Facilitatory role in the scientific research activities being undertaken by several national institutions and organizations in Antarctica, the Arctic and in the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean.
    • Management role in implementing all scientific and logistics activities related to the Annual Indian Expeditions to the Antarctic, Arctic and Southern Ocean.
    • Management and upkeep of the Indian Antarctic Research Bases “Maitri” and “Bharati”, and the Indian Arctic base “Himadri”.
    • Management of the Ministry’s research vessel ORV Sagar Kanya as well as the other research vessels chartered by the Ministry.

Major achievements of the PACER scheme:

  • Execution of Indian Scientific Expedition missions to Antarctica.
    • Ten sediment cores were collected from lakes to reconstruct the past climate associated with the ice-sheet dynamics.
    • Various glaciological and geophysical measurements were carried out in coastal Dronning Maud Land (cDML) to understand the modern snow accumulation patterns around the ice rises and the remote contribution to the glacio-chemical processes.
    • In addition, field-based studies were conducted in the lakes of Larsemann hills, East Antarctica for understanding of biogeochemical process in supraglacial environments.
    • Clear-air atmospheric observatories containing automatic weather stations, a suite of sensors to measure aerosol and greenhouse gas concentrations has been established at Maitri and Bharati stations. 
  • Research projects related to glaciology, marine science, polar biology, and atmospheric science were successfully carried out during 2019-20 Arctic Expedition:
    • IndARC mooring system along with Hydrophone system was successfully retrieved and deployed in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard.
    • Coastal cruises were undertaken in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago to carry out biogeochemical and microbial research in the glacio-marine system. 
  • Glaciological field campaigns were carried out in six benchmark glaciers in Chandra basin of Lahaul-Spiti region of Western Himalaya.
  • Winter snow accumulation over the glaciers was recorded using snow pits and snow corer.
  • Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey were conducted.
  • Two new Automatic Weather Station (AWS) systems were installed at Baralacha La, a high elevation site in the arid Spiti region to strengthen infrastructure across the Chandra basin.

Chandra Basin:

  • NCAOR has adopted seven major glaciers of Chandra basin to monitor for long term integrated glaciological studies and established one base station at Sutri Dhaka for operational requirements.
  • These seven glaciers are:
    • Bara Shigri which is the biggest among them and occupy 136 km2 glacier area,
    • Samudra Tapu (98 km2),
    • Sutri Dhaka (25.4 km2),
    • Batal (4.92 km2),
    • Nalka Nal (98 km2),
    • Gepang (98 km2) and
    • Kungum (98 km2).
  • There are 205 glaciers (706 km2) in Chandra basin and NCAOR has been monitoring 43% of this total glacier area of this basin.
  • The 11th Indian Southern Ocean Expedition was executed successfully.
    • Various atmospheric, geological, oceanographic and biological measurements were conducted in the Prydz Bay as well as across various fronts of the Southern Ocean.
    • Sediment cores were collected from 13 locations and Argo floats were deployed to measure the different ocean parameters.
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