Staff Reporter

NIOT working on project to study the ocean floor

KOCHI: National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in the city is actively working on a project to develop manned submersibles to study the ocean floor, M. A. Atmanand, Director of NIOT, has said.

In his keynote address at the symposium on ocean electronics organised by the Department of Electronics at Cochin University of Science and Technology here on Wednesday, he said that the project is being funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Explaining about the other projects carried out by NIOT, Dr. Atmanand said that it will soon extend the low temperature thermal desalination programme, which was implemented at Kavaratti in Lakshadweep islands, to three other islands including Minicoy, Agatti and Andrott. The project helps in generating freshwater from sea water.

Such plants are viable mainly in areas where freshwater storage through other sources is difficult, he said.

Pointing out that NIOT has launched a series of data buoys to measure parameters required for weather that could be ultimately used for weather forecasting models, Dr. Atmanand said scientists have developed bottom pressure recorder in the sub-duction zone, near the Andamans, which measures the sea level due to displacement of sea bed and transmits the same through buoys to NIOT and INCOIS, its sister institution in Hyderabad.

Warning system

This forms the input to the model that decides if there is a concern for occurrence of tsunami, he said.

Describing that various other parameters like tided data for Indian Ocean rim countries do form input to this tsunami warning system, Dr. Atmanand said that the warning would be issued to all the coastal areas that could get affected. The complete system is automated and does not require any human intervention, he said.

Stating that NIOT has taken up a programme by using the remotely operated vehicle to validate the ground truth at various locations in the Krishna-Godavari basin in the Bay of Bengal to assess the amount of gas hydrate available, Dr. Atmanand said that the discovery of gas hydrates is worth mentioning. Gas hydrates are solid methane available at a depth of about 50 to 100 metre below sea bed, he said.

S. Anantha Narayanan, Director of Naval Physical Oceanographic Laboratory, James S. Collins, vice president of IEEE-OES, and P. R. S. Pillai, Chairman of the organising committee of the event, spoke.

Experts presented various papers on topics related to ocean electronics on the occasion.