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Indian team to study climate change in Antarctic Ocean

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A team of Indian researchers are set to undertake a scientific expedition at Antarctic Ocean that aims at improving predictions of future climate by reducing uncertainties and increasing accuracies in climate models.

The expedition is slated to last for two month, starting from 9th January, with 34 researchers onboard of an oceanographic research vessel SA Agulhas navigating Mauritius and will sail close to the Antarctic coast. The team will amass samples of air and water samples from around 60 stations along the cruise track, which will provide vital information on the state of the ocean and atmosphere in this remote environment and help, understand its impacts on the climate.

According to the researchers representing 18 scientific institutions and universities, the agenda of the initiating this project is to try and understand the formation of the bottom waters in the Antarctic Ocean. “We need good quantification on how they form because these cold waters are one of the major drivers contributing to the global ocean current,” said Anoop Mahajan, who is leading the expedition and is a scientist at the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

Further, team will collect few sediment samples that can aid in reconstructing paleo environmental conditions for select time during the last glacial-interglacial cycles to provide perspectives on future climate change. While some samples will be analysed onboard SA Agulhas, those requiring sophisticated instruments will be investigated on the team’s return to India. The Indian Southern Ocean Research Programme was initiated in 2004 by the ministry of earth sciences to understand how the Southern Ocean, the least sampled ocean in the world, is affected by climate change and how it affects climate change.

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