Research is on ocean forecast system

The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), under its supra-institutional project (SIP), is putting in place a new prediction system for the Indian coast, a senior NIO scientist told PTI.

The project, funded by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), envisages long-term measurement of climatic and wind variations along the coast, he said.

Goa-based NIO said the rudimentary aim  to enable the fishermen to know "how it is going to be outside when they will be at sea."

About 25 per cent of India's population resides in the coastal zone. The activities of these people vary from traditional fishing to high-tech oil and gas exploration in the 2 million sq km of Indian exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the NIO website stated.

"These communities, irrespective of their level of technology, would like to know about ocean forecast. Providing such information demands the existence of a coastal environmental prediction system," it said.

NIO scientist Vijayan Fernando, closely associated with the assignment, said the project involves making observations in the seas around India. These observations will then have to be simulated using numerical models. Researchers admitted that at present there is insufficient data to document the changes on time scales, shorter than a few months, along the Indian coast.

"Absence of data leads to absence of hypotheses, which, in turn, implies that we do not have the means today to make predictions of 'the conditions at sea' on a day-to-day basis, a researcher said. In a bid to gain adequate ocean data, the NIO has moored the Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) at 14 locations across the country.
These ADCPs are moored 100 metres below the sea level and data is collected annually and analysed to understand the ocean behaviour in a particular region, a scientist explained.

Researchers felt that the successful completion of the system would go a long way in helping the fishermen avoid difficult, sometimes even life-threatening, situations off the coast.

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