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Careen as a Snow Expert

Snow Expert

Snow is the study material for avalanche experts and glaciologists. Glaciologists study glaciers, which comprise ice. water, rock debris or sediments, etc., to see if these are shrinking (or growing) due to changes in the environment. Collection and analysis ol data from glaciers help scientists calculate sea level rise or snow cover shrinkage. Avalanche (a snowslkle that can often kills people and destroys property) experts try to understand and analyse snow, its properties and behaviour. This helps them predict avalanches and work towards creating structures that can withstand an avalanche. Clock wise This is what a git ciologist’s day is like 5 am: Wake up at campsite, have breakfast 5.30 am: Check cata collected from the previous day’s survey of the glacier 6.30 am: Start survey work 2 pm: Break for k nch and go back to the safety of the camr. to ride out a snowstorm, which seems to bt brewing up


A snow scientist starts at level B, with a salary of Rs 38.900 per month. Upgradatkwis are as per the Flexible Complementing Scheme for scientists, as per which they are assessed on the basts of their performance. It takes four to five years for a scientist to be upgraded from level B to C. The senior-most level is H • and a scientist can earn as much as Rs 1.3 lakh or more. There are other perks as wel. such as medical (unlimited and need-based), PF. acccommodation, etc


Study pure sciences at the plus-two level. B Sc and M Sc (physics or mathematics) will help. Any degree in physical/biological/chemical, and earth and environmental sciences offered throughout the country helps. A person with at least a Master’s degree in physical/environmental sciences, with strong physical strength and unflinching resolve with great love for nature is a ‘Must’ if you want to be a glactologist. A Ph D can be a great asset. There are three possible routes to becoming an snow researcher. One is to work as an academician in a university department. This is not particularly well-paid but you have a lot of freedom to pursue your interests. Another possWity is to work in an avalanche research laboratory. This is better-paid and one can work with the state-of-the-art technologies and keep oneself updated on the latest innovations. The third route is to work direcnV with avalanches on a day-to-day basis either in a ski resort or m a region where daily forecasts are necessary to protect transport links or habitation


Great research and analytical skills Ability to work in a harsh environment Mountaineering skill – a definite help because you have to negotiate rough tenain Ability to keep physically fit Good communication skills Great team spirit, ability to talk team through tough spots


■  Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology Dehra Dun www.wihg.res.ln ■  Jawahartal Nehru University www.jnu.ac.in ■  Defence Research Development Organisation www.drdo.org ■ Tata Institute of Fundamental Research www.tifr.res.in PROS & CONS ■  You work in beautiful surroundings ■  Work is exciting and challenging ■  Scientists have to brave weather, negotiate avalanche slopes and remain fully equipped to conduct experiments in snow ■  There is an element of risk involved