The daily forecast covers various ocean parameters

Tourists, administrators and fishermen in Maldives can now plan their activities better and keep off dangerous sea conditions, thanks to a state-of-the-art Ocean Forecast services being provided to the island nation since March 8, 2013 by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).

Launched on a daily operational mode, the service provides information on the state of waves, swells (long period waves), winds, ocean currents, sea surface temperature and mixed layer depth.

The forecast was being provided three days in advance meeting the long-standing requirement for such a facility for Maldives which thrives on tourism economy. Observing that the region frequently comes under the influence of high-energy swell waves that originate in the Southern Indian Ocean, T.M. Balakrishnan Nair, Head of Ocean Science and Information Services Group, INCOIS said using ‘High Wave Alert Service’ developed at his Centre, the population could be forewarned about the impending high winds and high waves.

“The high wave alerts are generally issued when the waves and swells are more than three metres. Such waves are generally associated with cyclones and onset of monsoon,” he added.

Dr. Nair said the forecast information would be also useful for Navy, coast guard, port authorities and meteorologists. To benefit the local population, he said location specific tabulated information on ocean state was also being provided at 21 locations. The value addition to the service being provided by INCOIS would be done by the Bangkok-based Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES).

It would disseminate the information provided by INCOIS through different modes of communication including radio, TV and mobile phones. The Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India recently signed an MoU with RIMES to provide forecast services to its member countries.

Plans were afoot to extend these services to other RIMES member countries such as Comoros and Seychelles. It was also being contemplated to establish an ocean forecasting and observation system along the coasts of Indian Ocean countries to help strengthen India’s capabilities as many ocean hazards cross these countries before hitting the Indian coast.

He said that sudden wave surges and high swell waves originate far away before hitting the Indian coast. “If you have more data from those regions, you can improve your predictability,” he observed.

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