UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR)
National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) has been renamed National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), post the approval by the Ministry for S&T and Earth Sciences with the renewed focus of prioritising research in the other pole – the Arctic as well as the Himalayas (India’s earth sciences community also views the Himalayas as a “third pole” because of the large quantities of snow and ice it holds), considering the opportunities and challenges posed by climate change.
- National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), erstwhile National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) is India’s premier Research and Development institution responsible for the country’s research activities in the polar and Southern Ocean realms, situated in Goa.
- It was established in 1998.
- It is an autonomous Institution of the Department of Ocean Development (DOD), the same that controls the Indian Antarctic programme
- India has set up three research stations in the Antarctic Under the environmental protocol of the Antarctic Treaty (1959),
- Dakshin Gangotri
- It has also already established a high-altitude research station in the Himalayas, called Himansh, at Spiti in Himachal Pradesh.
What was the need to rename NCAOR?
- Climate change was a decisive factor in India re-thinking priorities. Sea ice at the Arctic has been melting rapidly — the fastest in this century. That means several spots, rich in hydrocarbon reserves, will be more accessible through the year via alternative shipping routes.
- A big worry for India is the impact of melting sea ice on the monsoon. Over the years scientists across the world are reporting that the rapid ice-melt in the Arctic is leading to large quantities of fresh water into the seas around the poles. This impedes the release of heat from the water and directs warm water into the seas around India, the theory goes, and eventually weakens the movement of the monsoon breeze into India. Therefore more observations and stations in the Arctic countries are needed to improve understanding of these processes,
- While annual missions to maintain India’s three bases in Antarctica will continue, the new priorities mean that there will be more expeditions and research focus on the other poles.
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