The Arctic region, home to the endangered Polar bears, plays a significant role in regulating the tropical climate, rather than just being an ocean of permanent ice and glaciers. Svalbard is one of the last great wildernesses, located halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Svalbard is now facing the brunt of climate change. Climate change has resulted in an increase of over 4 degrees in average annual temperatures since 1970, while Arctic sea ice has declined by 30 percent over the last three decades, and the evidence is now easily visible. At the frontline of climate change research is a small town high up in the Arctic, 1200 kilometers from the North Pole, Ny-Ålesund is the northernmost settlement in the world. Global attention has been drawn to the rapid ice melt, including from Indian scientists.
Since 2008, Indian scientists have been actively involved in studying the Arctic region by establishing a permanent research station “Himadri”. The scientists here have been trying to understand the complex processes in the hydrological changes in these arctic fjords and the surrounding environment by implementing several long-term monitoring programs.
I was part of the Indian Arctic team, to document all the scientific activities undertaken by the team. Having spent close to a month, I had the opportunity to also join the 1st sailing expedition to the higher Arctic and also got to document the deployment and retrieval of the Ind-ARC mooring.