ESSO - Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services

(An Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India)
Home International Interface IOGOOS-HOME IOGOOS-I Conference Working Groups

Regional-scale contributions to the observing system - Working Group 2

Co-chairs : K. Radhakrishnan, Gary Meyers
Rapporteurs : Neville Smith, Art Alexiou

  • Issues Addressed

  • Working Group Report

  • Regional Issues

    • Exploiting climate predictability
    • Fishery applications
    • Ocean data and products
    • Issues Addressed

      Working Group 2 was concerned with the regional priorities, needs, and contributions to Indian Ocean GOOS, supplementing the needs identified at the SOCIO Workshop and bearing in mind that the proposed actions and projects should be of value to people in the region.

      The Working Group was asked particularly to answer the following questions:

      • What available observations are most relevant to different regions, and why?
      • What additional observations are needed and what can regional countries provide?
      • What is the strategy to facilitate fusion of satellite data with in situ data?
      • What analyses and data products will be useful for the Indian Ocean region as a whole, or for different sub-regions?
      • What skills, capabilities and capacity does the region need to use the products effectively?
      • What are the principles and guidelines for integrating the ocean, climate, and coastal observing systems in particular regions?
      • How can awareness and the study of the socio-economic impact be improved?

      Working Group Report

      Reporters : Peter Hacker, Neville Smith

      The Ocean Dynamics and Climate Workshop's sessional Working Group 2 on Regional Contributions to the Observing System covered three main issues:

      • exploitation of climate predictability
      • fishery applications and
      • ocean data and data products.

      The activity in each of these areas in the Indian Ocean is expected to operate on three levels:

      • Global
      • Regional and
      • Local

      At the global level, international programs (e.g. CLIVAR, IOGOOS) will establish observing networks, and major analysis centres will prepare products and predictions covering global themes relevant to the Indian Ocean region, such as meteorology, oceanography, and climatology.

      At the regional level, such global products generally do not have enough spatial detail for applications (e.g., agriculture, fisheries) and, consequently, downscaling by statistical and/or dynamical methods is required. Specific oceanic features may need to be enhanced in the products, which may require better ocean climatology and bathymetry.

      At the local level, which was specifically addressed by the Conference's Coastal Ocean Observing Workshop, the regional concerns, such as management of the risk of climate variability and of change in the marine environment, fish production, and coastal erosion, will need to be addressed.

      These two project proposals were discussed in the joint plenary of the Ocean Dynamics and Climate and the Coastal Ocean Observing Workshops.

      Regional Issues

      The Workshop's sessional Working Group 2, comprising participants representing the various Indian Ocean regions-southern Africa, East Africa, South Asia, SE Asia and Australia-discussed the questions the Workshop had asked it to address (see section on the Ocean Dynamics and Climate Workshop, above), with a view to identifying a regional project that will take advantage of the availability of ocean analyses and climate predictions.

      Although time did not permit answers to all the questions, the Working Group identified a unifying theme involving the utilization of ocean and climate information: activity will take place on global, regional and local levels, as noted above in the Ocean Dynamics and Climate Workshop section.

      At the global level, international programs, such as CLIVAR and IOGOOS, will develop observing networks, data products and predictions in such fields as meteorology, oceanography and climate.

      For applicability at the regional level, the global products will have to be downscaled for practical applications (e.g., agriculture, fisheries). Specific oceanic features such as fronts, upwelling zones or the resolution of sea state and currents may need to be enhanced in the products; and using the products effectively will require regional expertise in risk analysis, better ocean climatology and bathymetric information.

      At the local level, management of the risk of climate variability and of change in the marine environment, production for a fish market, coastal erosion etc. will need to be developed.

      The Working Group identified three areas in which regional activity may take place.

      Exploiting climate predictability

      The goal is to enable regional uptake of weather and climate information and predictions by tailoring them to specific management decisions in agriculture, water-resource usage and public safety (e.g., what to plant, how much to fertilize, when to sell or buy stock, how much water to allocate, when to issue a warning etc.). Generalized downscaling, risk management and other services are required. The Working Group identified a number of ongoing projects that could be the kernel of regional activities. The capacity-building required in this area involves targeted training in the application of information and risk management.

      Fishery applications

      The ocean analyses and predictions will provide: relevant data (e.g., high-resolution SST, altimetry) and integrated analyses to the less competitive fishing nations; ocean data and products that are necessary for an ecosystemic approach to fishery management; data to support fishery research (e.g., impacts of climate change).

      The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, based in Mauritius, was recognized as a good focal point for industry and a channel for promoting best scientific practice and informed decisions. Capacity-building in this area calls for joint end-to-end workshops (ocean climate fisheries) to better identify needs and to cross-fertilize ideas.

      Ocean data and products

      The prominent application areas identified by the Working Group were: oil and gas industry (e.g. WAGOOS Timor Sea Project); coastal erosion; coral reef bleaching; coastal management and vulnerability.

      Since the applications tend to be located inshore, enhancement of the observing network is required to address offshore onshore interactions. This enhancement will provide information to enable statistical downscaling and to give reality to attempts to downscale with models.

      Data management will need to consider that application/areas and countries need access to all data, even if the data will be used selectively. The data and products for some specialist users are complex and may include data types that were not used in the past. The data service will also need to be provided to non-specialists in non-physical domains. The concept of data warehousing and clearing is applicable here. The capacity-building identified in this area includes technical aspects of a regional distributed data center and service.

      The Working Group concluded that IOGOOS has a real opportunity to address the need for data and information at the regional level. This issue was addressed by the Conference's Data Management Workshop.