Saturday, 9 May 2015

World is going greener

Hi friends,
A recent report (Lie et al (2015) Nature Climate Change 5, 470–474) tells  that the world is getting greener over the past decade despite widespread deforestation. The research is based on the satellite measurements of vegetation and shows spontaneous regrowth of forest on abandoned farmlands in Russia and neighbouring countries, large-scale tree plantation in China and significant increase in vegetation in savannas and shrublands of Australia, Africa and South America. This increase in vegetation compensates the losses of vegetation in the tropics of South America (Amazon forests) and Southeast Asia especially Indonesia.

Plants absorb around a quarter of the carbon dioxide that we release into the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning. With a greening Earth, and increase in vegetation cover may mean more absorption of carbon dioxide. This may slow down the global warming, but we will still require large reductions of global fossil fuel emissions to stabilise the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and stop the anthropogenic climate change.

Now may I ask how many of the readers of my blog know that the global oceans removes a quarter of carbon dioxide as well?

A popular science (longer) description is available in the link below:

Monday, 2 February 2015

Today was the last day of the ship in Singapore. Port call activities continued today with loading of equipment, frozen/refridgerated food and dry stores. The ship will depart tomorrow morning. We all had a last day out in the land because we won’t see land and people on land for the next 2 months. Life has to be different.
We had fire, boat and security drills today. The third mate told us how to release the life boat under emergency situation and key to survive under such conditions. The highly research vessel is robust and secure, but these emergency drills taught us the value of life.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

I am writing this blog from JOIDES Resolution (JR), the ship, which will be my home for
the next two months. We are still at port in Singapore and awaiting to receive necessary
clearance to leave the port. This is my first time in an IODP expedition, and I am very much
excited to sail on-board JR as part of an international team of scientists, and
to experience the life in middle of the sea. During my doctoral studies, I sailed twice along the west coast of South Africa, but those were only week long cruises. Here, I will be at sea for two months. The objective of the expedition is to find out the sedimentation history of Bengal Fan since the development of Himalaya. Sediments keep record of the environmental and climate conditions during its transport and deposition in sea. I will discuss the science in another blog.

After leaving the port and on our way to the sampling site, we will pass
through the Singapore and Malacca Straits that has a long history of piracy. In
fact, the third mate informed us about 'dos and don'ts' during an unlikely
event of pirate attack while briefing on security on-board yesterday. The ship
has hoses, anti-piracy fence and round the clock security along with other
anti-piracy measures. We are far more equipped that Tom Hanks in the Captain
Phillips movie. Moreover, a drilling ship with over 130 people on-board is an
unlikely target of pirates. So No worry.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The shipboard science party

IODP webpage
During most of my childhood, I remember playing with sands and pebbles in sandpile. Now after becoming an Earth Scientist, I find the connection. However, the connection is not only limited to sand. Being the only boy in the family I often ended up playing with my sister and used to write books and teach her dolls. The assistant professorship at Presidency University in Kolkata brings the next connection. When I was a kid, I loved soil and mud (i guess I still do) and often left my mother anxious. I used to build my own ship made up with aluminium cap of the milk bottles, and used to scuba dive by putting my head down under a bucket of water. My participation in research cruises and becoming an advance open water scuba diver have made a full circle. I am writing this blog to tell you exciting stories of my research and participation in the IODP expedition in Bay of Bengal. I hope you will enjoy.