Arctic glaciers melting, inviting global warming

PTI, PANAJI | 30 June 2011 13:53 IST

The Indian mission on the Arctic region has concluded that the capability of this icy continent to behave as a 'global carbon sink' would drastically reduce in the future due to the quickly receding glacier cover.

Researchers from National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), who returned from the Arctic assignment recently, have said that the trend is a serious concern as it may fuel the global warming across Earth. 

NIO's senior scientist S Prasannakumar said that Arctic seas and land together accounts for about 25% of the world's carbon sink. 

"The melting of glaciers and Ice cover from Fjords would mean a less efficient carbon sink that would end up in faster global warming," he said. 

The five-member NIO team, which was in the icy continent in the last week of May faced (-4) degree Celsius temperature. The scientists have chosen Kongsforden Fjord as the sample water body which would now be monitored for next decade. 

Prassanakumar said that Kongsforden Fjord is situated just 100 metres away from Himadri, Indian research station on Arctic continent. Fjord is a long inlet with steep sides (cliff) created in a valley carved by glacier activity. 

The Fjord is being studied for physical, chemical and biological parameter study of Kongsforden Fjord located in the Arctic region. 

The scientists have raised concerns on melting glacier as the phenomenon has been reported more rapid since last half a decade. 

Dr Prasannakumar said 'in simple terms, this means that Arctic will loose its ability to absorb large amount of carbon dioxide thereby accelerating the global warming process.' 

The other worries like melting glaciers would enhance the sea water are also on the agenda of researchers. 

"It is estimated that Arctic region would be ice free in next 30-40 years time," the researcher said adding 'global carbon cycle will change with the melting of Arctic glaciers.'

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