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Studies on Southern Ocean climate changes

Panaji: Researchers are banking on studies in Indian sector of the Southern Ocean to analyse the climatic changes in Indian Peninsula, a scientist has said.

"There is major exchange of heat and salt between the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean. Hence, the Southern Ocean has a vital role in the climatic changes occurring in Indian Peninsula," N Anilkumar, Coordinator (Southern Ocean Expedition), National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research (NCAOR), told PTI.

The Goa-based NCAOR is readying for its sixth expedition, with participation from a dozen leading research institutions in the country, to the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean to understand its complexity. The 45-day-long expedition will be held between January and March.

Anilkumar said the Indian Ocean is peculiar because its northern part is land-locked and this may influence the exchange between Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean. "Very few studies are available in the Indian sector of Southern Ocean."

The series of expeditions to this part of the globe began with a pilot project by NCAOR in January-March 2004.

The senior scientist said investigations are in progress to understand carbon cycle in the sector. "Intensive and long-term studies are required to understand processes that are involved in carbon generation and utilisation so as to arrive at net carbon availability in the system."

He said the polar regions have been identified as the areas where signatures of global changes are more pronounced.

"Improved understanding of the links between Southern Ocean processes, global climate, bio-geochemical cycles and marine productivity will be critical for society to respond effectively to the challenges of climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and the sustainable use of marine resources," Anilkumar stated.

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