ESSO - Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services

(An Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India)
Home Organisation Director's Desk

Director's Desk

It is my great pleasure to present the progress of the ESSO-Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (ESSO-INCOIS) in its mission, operations and R&D programmes during 2012-13. The Centre has been consistently striving to provide a wide range of ocean information and advisories to users at all levels including the fishermen of the country. The 11th Five Year Plan of the institute was targeted to provide major growth in new services to service users, improvements in service accuracy and timely dissemination, manpower development and infrastructure development. I am extremely happy to report that, the Centre made significant progress in meeting these targets during the 11th plan period. The year 2012-13 is the first year of the 12th Plan Period during which we have taken up several new challenges including the establishment of the International Centre for Operational Oceanography at ESSO-INCOIS.

It was a real life test for ESSO-INCOIS when two major earthquakes (8.6 M and 8.3 M) occurred in succession, off the west coast of Northern Sumatra in the Indian Ocean on 12th April 2012. Though the events did not generate any major tsunami, the centre issued bulletins and kept the authorities informed as prescribed in standard operating procedures. In addition, being the Regional Tsunami Watch Provider, the Centre also provided information to the 23 countries on the Indian Ocean Rim. The efficiency and professionalism of the Centre in handling this event was widely acclaimed.

For the first time in India, ESSO-INCOIS started (since March 2013) providing global ocean analysis on a daily basis, by assimilating ocean observations into an Oceanic General Circulation Model. This service provides the daily evolution temperature, salinity and currents in the global oceans with a delay of two days. These fields are now being used as initial conditions in atmospheric models to predict the seasonal behaviour of the Indian monsoon.

While continuing to provide Ocean State Forecasts (waves, tides, surface currents, SST, mixed layer depth, depth of thermocline) to a divergent user community (fishermen, maritime industry, the Navy and the Coast Guard) in India on a daily basis, we have also started providing such services to users in the Maldives. The special bulletins on 'High Wave Alerts' issued in Tamil and Telugu during the 'Neelam' cyclone during 28-31 October 2012 proved to be successful in preventing fishermen from venturing out to sea. Another new service was introduced during the year to provide Ocean State Forecasts along the chosen tracks of ships. This service enables navigators to derive sea state predictions along a route and select the optimum route for safe navigation.

On the Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) advisories front, while continuing to provide the advisories on a daily basis, the network has been expanded by including more landing centres (an increase to 586 landing centres from 287 provided earlier). The project jointly initiated with CMLRE, CMFRI, and FSI, to study the environmental preference of Tuna using satellite tracked tags has started yielding useful results. Fifteen Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares) have been tagged during October 2012-March 2013 period. The preliminary results indicate that the Tuna prefer to stay at relatively shallow depths (< 200 m) during day time and at deeper depths (200-400 m) during night time.

Last year also saw expansion in the dissemination systems network for PFZ and OSF advisories that helped in reaching a larger number of users. The dissemination systems were expanded through tie-ups with local organizations who arranged broadcast through local radio stations (for example AIR in Karwar), public address systems, village resource centres and web content in regional languages. Additionally, we have also started dissemination of customised Ocean State Forecasts to Coast Guard centres and the Coastal Security Police in Tamil Nadu, Goa, Karnataka, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The ocean observing network was enhanced through deployments of Argo floats, wave rider buoys, shipboard AWS, tide gauges, tsunami buoys and a mooring in the central Bay of Bengal with a suite of sensors. The analysis of data from the observing systems has resulted in several research papers.

Realizing the importance of accurate prediction of Indian waters, emphasis has been placed on developing high resolution models with improved physics and data assimilation and the use of a suite of models:g MoM, Hycom and ROMS to narrow down forecasts from global to basin wide and to coastal significance. All three models are making tremendous progress in terms of better simulation and forecasts with the help of data assimilation. Modelling of biogeochemical parameters and storm surge modelling are the other new modelling activities taken up during 2012-13.

On the infrastructure front, the commissioning of the INSAT hub station to receive seismic and GPS data from 90 field stations in real time and the establishment of high speed MPLS links connecting the regional seismic data centres at NGRI (Hyderabad), NEIST (Jorhat), Survey of India (Dehradun) and the Institute of Seismological Research, Gandhi Nagar have been completed. 67 VSATS have been installed at 40 seismic, 25 GPS stations and at 2 hub locations (ESSO-INCOIS and NCMRWF) scattered over the country. The construction activities undertaken for the Phase-II expansion of the campus are close to completion.

The Centre's publication record has improved considerably. During 2012-13, ESSO-INCOIS's scientists authored/co-authored 45 research papers published in peer-reviewed journals. The cumulative Impact Factor (IF) for the year is 57.7. Thirty-three students carried out their B.Tech./M.Tech./M.Sc. dissertation/project works at ESSO-INCOIS under the guidance of ESSO-INCOIS scientists.

To promote the use of Hindi in ESSO-INCOIS, we have celebrated the Hindi Pakhwara in September 2012 , conducted Hindi competitions and organized seminars and symposia in Hindi.

With the addition of 9 scientists at C and B levels, the strength of scientists in ESSO-INCOIS increased to 42. The total permanent manpower strength of ESSO-INCOIS is 70. During the year, 4 project scientists, 1 research assistant and 6 project assistants were recruited to execute the mission mode projects. 8 project scientists resigned during the year.

On the international scenario, ESSO-INCOIS continued its involvement with the Indian Ocean Global Ocean Observing System (IOGOOS), Regional Co-ordination of Argo Programme, the Partnership for Observation of Global Ocean (POGO), Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early warning System (RIMES) and as part of the Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) of the Indian Ocean Tsunami and other hazards Warning System (IOTWS) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)/UNESCO. ESSO-INCOIS continued hosting the secretariats of IOGOOS and the Sustained Indian Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (SIBER). The special data centre for Ocean Bio-Informatics System (OBIS) has been maintained and serviced, in close coordination with IODE/IOC.

ESSO-INCOIS successfully organised and hosted the biennial Pan Ocean Remote Sensing Conference (PORSEC) -2012 in Kochi during 5-9 November 2012. The event was attended by 544 participants from 19 countries. 275 research papers and 78 posters were presented in 25 technical sessions.

Dr. Srinivasa Kumar T has been selected as a Fellow of the Andhra Pradesh Akademi of Sciences, in recognition of his contributions to setting up the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre at ESSO-INCOIS. Shri. Venkat Seshu received the Certificate of Merit and Shri. Suresh Ganti received the "Best Employee" Award on the occasion of Foundation Day of Ministry of Earth Sciences held on 27th July 2012.

I am confident that ESSO-INCOIS will continue providing quality services to society and establish itself as a World leader in Operational Oceanography. I thank my colleagues at ESSO-INCOIS for their dedication, commitment and co-operation in designing and executing projects. I take this opportunity to thank Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Chairman, Governing Council and members of Governing Council for their support and guidance at every moment. I would also like to thank the Chairmen and members of the Finance Committee and the Research Advisory Council.

The administrative support extended by the colleagues in the Ministry of Earth Sciences is gratefully acknowledged. The editorial committee chaired by Francis P. A. with M. S. Girish Kumar, Satya Prakash, K. Annapurnaiah, R. Venkat Seshu, Nimit Joshi, Celsa Almeida and Sidhartha Sahoo as members compiled the report based on the inputs from other colleagues. I am extremely grateful to all of them.