India to launch American buoy in Bay of Bengal to study weather pattern


Scientists are set to sail from Chennai on November 24 towards a point in the Bay of Bengal, 300 km east of Kolkata, which receives the highest rainfall in the Indian Ocean. They will carry a state-of-the-art buoy which can measure salinity, temperature, currents, and nitrates and dissolved oxygen content at different levels in the sea up to a depth of 2 km.


Scientists are set to sail from Chennai on November 24 towards a point in the Bay of Bengal, 300 km east of Kolkata, which receives the highest rainfall in the Indian Ocean.

Dr. M. Ravichandran, who heads the Modeling and Ocean Observation Group at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) here said, “We want to study how the atmosphere and the ocean interact and exchange energy. This part of the bay receives the waters of the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. It also receives the highest rainfall in the Indian Ocean. This large amount of freshwater heats up and cool down at a much faster rate than the rest of the Bay.”

Weather forecasting is based on the rhythms of parameters such as the temperature of the sea, currents and the mixing of fresh and saline waters. “Currently, forecasting is based on several assumptions. This device, which costs around Rs. 20 crore, will give us accurate data on these parameters and help us validate our assumptions,” he explained.

This buoy to measure flux in the sea is manufactured by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, United States of America. It will take around 10 days to install and has a life of one year. The first buoy is a grant from WHOI. India will purchase a second buoy to replace the current one after a year.

INCOIS already has two buoys in the area to measure temperature, salinity and currents in addition to another research buoy of the National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai. “The four buoys are placed in the corners of a square of 30km length. For the next one year, we will get data every hour on the changes in this segment of the sea. The applications of this are huge and will lead to more accurate forecasting and the development of a better weather model,” Dr. Ravichandran added.

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