Keralite on a ‘Himansh’ high

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | VINOD NEDUMUDY
Published Oct 17, 2016, 6:08 am IST
Updated Oct 17, 2016, 7:09 am IST
Himalayan region has the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar caps.
The laboratory facility at Himansh (from left to right):  Dr. M. Ravichandran, director, NCAOR; Dr M. Rajeevan, secretary to ministry of Earth Sciences, Dr Thamban Meloth, project director at NCAOR and Dr P. Sharma, leader of the Himansh station.
 The laboratory facility at Himansh (from left to right): Dr. M. Ravichandran, director, NCAOR; Dr M. Rajeevan, secretary to ministry of Earth Sciences, Dr Thamban Meloth, project director at NCAOR and Dr P. Sharma, leader of the Himansh station.

Kochi: Kasargod native and alumnus of Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) Dr Thamban Meloth is on a high after having scaled the Himalayas to set up India’s new high-altitude station to monitor the melting of glaciers.

The station, named Himansh (meaning slice of ice), is perched on an altitude of 13,500 ft, and is located in Spiti Valley, one of the most uninhabited parts of the country.

 

Dr Thamban is the project director of National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) for snow, ice related and glacier projects.

NCAOR has taken the initiative to set up the Himalayan station. The research facility has automatic weather stations, ground penetrating radars, geodetic GPS systems and other sophisticated facilities to study glaciers and their discharge.

Dr Thamban, the only Keralite to participate in the South Pole expedition from the country, has also bagged the National Geoscience Award.

An oceanographer-turned -geologist and glaciologist, Dr Thamban also took the lead in setting up the state of the art ice core laboratory at the NCAOR facility in 2002 which was the first such facility in South Asia. He also participated in the ice drilling in the Antarctic continent.

“Himalayan region has the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar caps. This region,  aptly called the ‘Water Tower of Asia’, is the source of 10 major river systems that provide irrigation, power and drinking water for over 1.3 billion people in Asia — nearly 20% of the world’s populatio.”

“Understanding the behaviour of these glaciers and their contribution to the sustainable supply of water for mankind and agriculture is one of the grand challenges of Indian scientific community,” says Dr Thamban.

The researchers at Himansh would be using it as a base for setting up Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) that would digitize the glacier motion and snow cover variations with exceptional precision.

The Himansh station was inaugurated by Dr. M. Rajeevan, Secretary to the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, on October 9.  Dr. M. Ravichandran, Director of NCAOR was present.

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