SaGHAA V

Polar regions and their geopolitics is a constantly changing field where new equations emerge everyday with hypotheses for solutions being proposed constantly. The publication of Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (PCC-2013) has brought to light the grim picture of a warming globe. The increasing loss of sea ice in Arctic, breaking away of large chunks of ice shelves in West Antarctica and Antarctic Peninsula and rising sea level, has necessitated urgency of discussions on the role of mankind in mitigation and adaptation to the new scenario. Ever increasing pressure on high seas for exploitation of fisheries and exploration for non-living resources has seen growing activities in areas which were considered to be too inaccessible for economic exploit, couple of years before. Newer collaboration and research cooperation is evolving in both Arctic and Antarctic. More nations from the third world are proposing to build research stations in Antarctica while Russia and Canada are proposing to open their Arctic Bases to researchers from other countries. This would also involve a greater need for technological innovations that would assist rigorous research expeditions into the lesser known cryospheric realm. The recently concluded conference on Arctic and Antarctic (Polar 2018) in Davos, Switzerland, has laid emphasis on promoting international partnership in scientific endeavours. Our own Himalaya, and the Himalayan ecosystem, and its environment as a whole, too is under strain due to the changing climatic patterns, especially that of monsoons and westerlies which bring precipitation to different regions of this long mountain chain spread over several Asian nations, —Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar. The Himalaya and its problems are not confined to one nation. These transcendent the man made geographic borders. The geological set up and tectonic framework of young rocks has made the region unstable and at high seismic risk. To add to this, the sudden outbursts of lakes formed due to damming of glacial lakes at high altitude (GLOF) and frequent cloud bursts have resulted in great calamities in near past such as Nepal earthquake and the Kedarnath tragedy. Scientists concerned with Himalayan system therefore need to join hands and work together to usher an era of scientific cooperation in this ~2,500 km long, highly inaccessible, pristine and fragile environment that constitutes water tower to one of the most densely populated region of world . The Conference on Science and Geopolitics of Himalaya, Arctic and Antarctic (SaGHAA 2019) will strive to evolve concerted dialogue regarding such and other inter-disciplinary issues pertaining to these cryospheric regions. LIGHTS Research Foundation has been working towards a convergence of these aspects for nine years now. Beginning in 2011, the last Conference was held in 2017 that attempted greater amalgamation of research with ground truthing on the three poles.
SAGHAA 2019 aims to develop consensus among the scientists and policy makers towards research and innovations. It will strive to encourage higher degree of cooperation and collaboration in cross border scientific programmes among likeminded research groups/institutions for sustaining research under hostile environment and help resource sharing for the benefit of mankind in general.
Climate change and technological advancement have acted as big contributors in providing greater accessibility to the Arctic, Antarctic and Himalayan region. SAGHAA 2019 plans to focus on the developments in the three polar regions and Southern Ocean under the climate change scenario. The consequences of warming Southern Ocean, its influence on carbon sequestration, modulating monsoons and on the marine biodiversity will be a new addition to the widening scope of SAGHAA. The Arctic –Antarctic teleconnection to monsoons, changing pattern of the precipitation both in intensity and duration over Himalaya, the dynamics of Himalayan glaciers, snow cover assessment, adaptation of the societies in Himalaya to climate change and more will be the current focus. SAGHAA 2019 will also highlight the challenging marine technology and management aspects of expeditions to Polar Regions that constitute the backbone of conducting research in inaccessible areas of Arctic, Antarctic, Himalaya and Southern Ocean.