India to study climate change in deep oceans: Secretary

India to study climate change in deep oceans: Secretary

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India is all set to study climate change in the deep oceans as part of an ambitious Rs 6,500 crore Deep Ocean Mission, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, M Rajeevan said here on Monday.

Studying climate change, marine biodiversity and survey for compounds like hydrocarbons and minerals will be part of the deep ocean mission.

Institutions, including the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services and Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology are involved in the mission, he said.

"Exploring deep oceans to get energy, minerals and water" are the broad objectives of the mission, he told reporters here on the sidelines a workshop held as part of the silver jubilee celebrations of the city-based NIOT. The project cost is Rs 6,500 crore for the next six years and approximately Rs 1,000 crore per year, he said.

Though nuances linked to the behaviour of the top layer of the oceans and sea surface temperature were well known, the dynamics at the ocean depths were yet to be studied in India, he said, answering a question. What happened beyond a distance of one kilometre has to be looked into, he said.

"Carbon dioxide is getting absorbed and goes into deep oceans. How it is stored and released back" are among the kind of things that needed to be studied, he said. The Bay of Bengal is full of mysteries and unique, he pointed out.

Earlier, addressing the gathering, Rajeevan said NIOT would play a leading role, especially in managing the core mission and added that the Environment Ministry would set up a deep ocean directorate at the NIOT, whose director would also be the Deep Ocean Mission director.

As part of expansion initiatives of NIOT, efforts were on acquire land at Nellore from the Andhra Pradesh government to set up a seafront facility there, he said. The government has approved six more additional desalination plants in Lakshadweep and work on setting them up was already on, he said.

Of the six, the first plant would be completed by October this year and the others by next year, Rajeevan said. He released a commemorative postal stamp to mark the jubilee celebrations, a coffee table book on the organisation and launched an updated website of the NIOT.

NIOT Director M A Atmanand made a presentation on the technology front, starting with wave energy plant at Kerala to the latest development of manned submersible, Ocean Thermal Energy conversion based desalination plant.

He compared the growth of NIOT in ocean technology with that of ISRO for space technology.

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