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Scientists meet in Sri Lanka to build Indian Ocean forecasting system

ECONOMYNEXT – Scientists from Indian Ocean countries are meeting in Sri Lanka this week aiming to build a weather forecasting system for the region that could help improve efficiency and safety in fisheries, merchant shipping and tourism.

“Why we’re interested in ocean forecasting is to save lives and property,” said Charitha Pattiaratchi, a Sri Lankan-born Professor of Coastal Oceanography at the University of Western Australia.

Scientists are now able to predict weather conditions days in advance and disseminate information using modern sensing and communications technology, he told an experts group meeting on capacity building for Indian Ocean operational forecasting system in Colombo.

“Our aim is to predict safe conditions in the ocean,” Pattiaratchi told the forum organised by National Aquatic Resources research and Development Agency and the Secretariat of the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

“All we need is a strong, high speed internet and a normal personal computer to do our modelling,” said Pattiaratchi. “We can take satellite data and make more accurate predictions using data assimilation.”

Pattiaratchi said scientists study changes in ocean temperature and other characteristics to forecast wind speeds, currents, wave heights and storms.

The forecasts were useful for safe marine operations like navigation, ship movements, fishing, and recreation.

The data could be used by fishing fleets to locate potential fishing zones, he said.

They have also developed tsunami forecasting models that have actually given warnings and saved lives in the Indian Ocean region.
(COLOMBO, Nov 18, 2016)





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