SynOPS: Harnessing ocean data for climate, safety and sustainability

In the upcoming months, the INCOIS intends to launch marine heatwave warnings, coral bleaching advisories, and water quality advisories in Kochi and Vizag.
A visitor clicking a photo of Science on Sphere (SoS), a product by NOAA, USA
A visitor clicking a photo of Science on Sphere (SoS), a product by NOAA, USAPhoto | Express

HYDERABAD: Oceans hold a key to how climate and weather systems work across the world. Apart from that, the seas also offer a means of livelihood and a line of defence against intruders.

To gather and study real-time information and data on ocean conditions, the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) inaugurated the Synergistic Ocean Observation Prediction Services (SynOPS), touted to be the first-of-its-kind facility in the world, in February.

It observes and monitors the ocean conditions and the data collected is translated to provide as many as 13 services, including marine fisheries advisory (potential fishing zone + tuna fishing advisories), early tsunami warnings, storm surge warnings, coral bleaching alerts, marine heatwave advisory services, ocean services for Pacific islands, ocean state forecast, water quality nowcast system and multi-hazard vulnerability mapping. The modelling systems also describe the past, present and future state of the ocean at appropriate spatial and temporal resolutions.

The data collected through in situ ocean sensors and remote sensing, which is modelled and analysed through 2D and 3D projections, is leveraged to provide multiple sets of information on oceanic conditions such as sea surface currents, sea surface temperatures, windspeed, oil spill trajectory and the El Nino-La Nina conditions.

The early warning system monitors real-time data from over 400 seismic stations across the globe to monitor earthquakes in the ocean. The services were extended to various groups including the Indian Navy, Coast Guards and 26 nations along the Indian Ocean.

Explaining the tsunami warning system, Dr TM Balakrishnan Nair, group director, INCOIS, said, “The preparedness time in case of a tsunami is very less, about 1–2 hrs. In this case, it becomes extremely critical that an early warning be sent to the local administration in high-risk zones for evacuation and rescue operations. The early warning system can analyse the earthquake and send the warnings within 6–8 minutes. This time-efficient warning prevents massive damage to lives and monetary loss.”

The fisheries advisory services are extended to more than 10 lakh fishermen in the country and the community has benefitted by generating high revenue in the potential fishing zones based on the advisories. “Our main aim is that the data and information must not remain mere numerical values but must serve the common people. Our effort is to keep enhancing our ability to extend support as a goodwill to the group-nations along with our own country, where lives can be saved, disasters averted and hazard management become more agile and efficient,” Dr Nair added.

In the upcoming months, the INCOIS intends to launch marine heatwave warnings, coral bleaching advisories, and water quality advisories in Kochi and Vizag. These two locations will serve as experimental zones in the initial phase, and other beach areas will be included soon. Additionally, the it is collaborating with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) to develop 3D building maps in disaster-prone coastal regions to assess inundation risks. These maps will be used to issue advisories and bulletins during cyclonic conditions.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com