UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Himansh
The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (Now National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research), Goa, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences has established a high altitude research station in Himalaya called HIMANSH (which literally means, a slice of ice), situated above 13,500 ft (> 4000 m) at a remote region in Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, one of the most uninhabited regions in India.
- The glaciological research facility is a part of the Indian government’s initiatives to better study and quantify the Himalayan glacier responses towards the climate change and also the Hydrological contributions of the Himalayan glaciers.
- It is the highest point from where an Indian glacier research facility is functioning.
- The Digital Satellite Phone Terminal system established at Himansh is the only communication link to the outer world.
- Himansh houses instruments to study snow cover variations and glacier motion with high precision.
- Some of the instruments that are available at this research facility include, Automatic Weather Stations for weather monitoring, water level recorder for quantifying the glacier melt, ground penetrating radar to know the thickness of glaciers, geodetic GPS systems to study the glacier movements, snow fork for studying snow thickness, steam drill, snow corer, temperature profilers, as well as various glaciological tools.
- It will also serve as a base for Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) and Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAVs) for undertaking surveys, that would digitize the glacier motion and snow cover variations with exceptional precision.
- “Himansh” – high altitude research station has provided the much needed fillip to the scientific research on Himalayan glaciers and its hydrological contribution.
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