INCOIS to go for airline mapping of ocean floor

The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) is planning to take the help of the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) for airline mapping of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshwadeep to get a better picture of the ocean floor, also called ‘bathymetric’ study.

“NRSC has already done a similar high resolution topographic Airborne Laser Terrain Mapping (ALTM) for entire coastal areas of the country and we are in the process of integrating the data for a 3D multi-hazard mapping of both the east and west coastline for a more precise picture of the ocean floor,” said director T. Srinivasa Kumar, in an exclusive interaction.

Such a study has become imperative in view of the recent tsunamis of the Indonesian coasts where more than the quake related high waves, damage was due to landslides that had under the sea beds causing sudden wave surge leading to much damage without giving sufficient time to alert people, he pointed out.

The research institute, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, had also identified ‘gaps’ across the coast of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha for installing more tide gauges for better monitoring of the sea and more accurate prediction of impending disasters like cyclones. This is in addition to the 36 already floating on the Bay of Bengal, informed senior scientist E. Pattabhi Rama Rao.

In the meantime, INCOIS scientists in association with their counterparts in the Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and an United States independent scientific agency, Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), have been mining the data recorded by a unique ‘Flux Buoy’ retrieved from the Bay of Bengal off the Kolkota coast, a few months ago.

The buoy was dropped off into the sea to monitor the temperatures, pressures, salinity, radiation and geo-chemical changes at various depths in a high resolution scale, compared to other buoys in the seas. “It was ‘installed’ on the far seas in May 2019 and was supposed to have been retrieved in May 2020 but due to lockdown and restricted overseas travel conditions, the US scientists could not come, so we took it out in October,” explained Mr. Rao, also group head of ocean observations and data management group.

“It will take months before we are able to decipher the information logged on the buoy and efforts are on to simultaneously unravel the data online at NIOT, here and the WHOI,” he added.

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