India has plans to introduce eight deep ocean gliders having 6-12 months endurance to travel from 3,000 km to 4,500 km, about 48 deep Argo floats at 6,000-metre depth at 24 locations and another 150 wave drifters to strengthen the capacity of observations in the Indian Ocean as part of its 'Deep Ocean Mission', informed secretary of Ministry of Earth Sciences M. Ravichandran.
Also, manned submersible vehicles which can go up to 6,000 metres deep, scientific cruises to scour the ocean and also a new multidisciplinary research vessel in the next three years are on the anvil, while the Oceansat-3 is also scheduled to be launched next year.
“With the help of these in situ and satellite data” of sea temperatures, currents, salinity etc., “we are trying to predict as much accurate as possible the various climatic conditions and the monsoons,” he said, addressing the International Indian Ocean Conference (IIOC) organised by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) which concluded on Friday.
Pointing out that “oceans are key to understanding the climate in securing lives and livelihoods due to vast coastline”, he said the Government is drafting a policy on ‘Blue Economy’ of which the ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ forms an integral part for which about ₹4,077 crore has been committed over a five year period.
The policy will enunciate the way forward on sustainable ocean development in mining of deep sea and coastal resources, off-shore energy and climate services. Developing advanced technology in underwater robotics, marine stations, studying biodiversity, bio-corrosion, microbiorganisms, etc.
An engineering design for ocean thermal energy conversion to generate power and others have been identified for further research for precise observations and predictions of future cyclones, ocean health through statistical and dynamic modelling and observation networks.
”Our objective is to bolster the deep ocean observation with more platforms and prepare a framework model for future services on how and when the cyclones and storm surges will happen, whether their numbers will increase or intensity with global warming, harmful algal bloom, coastal morphology, erosion, etc., said the secretary.
The four-day virtual conference, inaugurated by Union Minister Jitendra Singh, was to assess the progress and scientific knowledge gained during the second phase of International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE) launched in 2015. About 400 participants from 20 countries participated.
“Indian Ocean is the least studied from among the oceans and there is need for nations to put priority for sustainable ocean planning and development,” said Unesco’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) executive secretary Vladimir Ryabinin. INCOIS Director T. Srinivas Kumar and other top scientists including former director S.S. Shenoi, participated in the conference co-hosted by CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) of MOES and Goa University.