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Polar Science and Cryosphere (PACER) scheme:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


The Polar Science and Cryosphere (PACER) scheme has been approved for continuation during 2021-2026.

The PACER scheme:

  • Polar Science and Cryosphere Research (PACER) scheme comprises the Antarctic program, Indian Arctic program, Southern Ocean program and Cryosphere and Climate program.
  • It is being implemented successfully through National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

What is the cryosphere?

The cryosphere is the frozen water part of the Earth system.

  • These are places on Earth that are so cold that water is frozen solid. These areas of snow or ice, which are subject to temperatures below 0°C 32°F for at least part of the year, compose the cryosphere.
  • The term “cryosphere” comes from the Greek word, “krios,” which means cold.

Ice and snow on land are one part of the cryosphere.

  • This includes the largest parts of the cryosphere, the continental ice sheets found in Greenland and Antarctica, as well as ice caps, glaciers, and areas of snow and permafrost.
  • When continental ice flows out from land and to the sea surface, we get shelf ice.

The other part of the cryosphere is ice that is found in water. This includes frozen parts of the ocean, such as waters surrounding Antarctica and the Arctic. It also includes frozen rivers and lakes, which mainly occur in polar areas.

Current Affairs

Significance of Cryosphere:

The components of the cryosphere play an important role in the Earth’s climate.

  • Snow and ice reflect heat from the sun, helping to regulate our planet’s temperature.
  • Because polar regions are some of the most sensitive to climate shifts, the cryosphere may be one of the first places where scientists are able to identify global changes in climate.

PACER encompasses the following six components.

  1. Construction of polar research vessel
  2. Construction of the third research base in Antarctica
  3. Indian scientific endeavours in the Arctic
  4. Polar expeditions-Antarctica
  5. Replacement of Maitri station
  6. Southern Ocean

Objective of PACER scheme: To improve our understanding of Polar Science and cryosphere system.


Current Affairs


Major achievements of the PACER scheme in the recent three years are:

  1. Executed 39th & 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica.
  2. 41st Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica is ongoing.
  3. Clear-air atmospheric observatories containing automatic weather stations, a suite of sensors to measure aerosol and greenhouse gas concentrations has been established at Maitri and Bharati stations.
  4. Twenty-three research projects related to glaciology, marine science, polar biology, and atmospheric science were successfully carried out during 2019-20 Arctic Expedition.
  5. IndARC mooring system along with Hydrophone system was successfully retrieved and deployed in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard.
  6. Glaciological field campaigns were carried out in six benchmark glaciers in Chandra basin of Lahaul-Spiti region of Western Himalaya.

Sources: the Hindu.