One week Indo-Norwegian research school opened in Hyderabad

The student and faculty participants of the PhD and Post-doc wither school in operational oceanography and ocean modelling at INCOIS in Hyderabad.The student and faculty participants of the PhD and Post-doc wither school in operational oceanography and ocean modelling at INCOIS in Hyderabad.The Indo-Norwegian winter school Operational Oceanography: Indian Ocean circulation and sea level variation was to day opened at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) in Hyderabad. Former secretary Dr Shailesh Nayak, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India and HE Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg, Norwegian Ambassador to India, opened the research school together with the hosts Director Dr. Satheesh Shenoi from INCOIS and Prof. Ola M. Johannessen for Nansen Center and Nansen Scientific Society. 29 Indian and international doctoral students or Post-doc´s have been selected for participation with one week of lecture presentations, interactive sessions, group exercises and report writing related to operational oceanography – the “weather” forecast for the oceans. Norwegian and Indian partners, including the Nansen Centers in Bergen and Cochin and the Nansen Scientific Society, are jointly organizing the winter school with INCOIS. The school also financially supported by the Research Council of Norway and Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.

During the opening Dr. Nayak pointed out the importance of development of the “Blue economy” in India and the fundamental role of observations and development of operational ocean services in order to optimize the use of the oceans. Ambassador Kamsvåg underlined the importance of fisheries and marine resources in the history of Norway. Bio-economy is one of the selected areas of Indo-Norwegian research cooperation where cooperation in developing the oceans, including sea farming is one area of bilateral expertise and interest. He also pointed out the uniqueness of the Nansen Environmental Research Centre – India (NERCI) in Cochin, which is the only Indo-Norwegian research centre with a more than 15 years of bilateral cooperation in science.The inauguration ceremony of the wither school, from left Prof. Ola M. Johannessen, Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Ambassador Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg and Dr. Satheesh Shenoi.The inauguration ceremony of the wither school, from left Prof. Ola M. Johannessen, Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Ambassador Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg and Dr. Satheesh Shenoi.

Operational oceanography involves reliable, continuous and long-term observations of the oceans and coastal waters, rapid interpretation and dissemination of data and generation of forecasts products that are distributed to users in near real time. The recent advances made in observational technologies in the fields of sensors, platforms and real-time communications now provide capability to observe and forecast the state of the oceans with high precision. The winter school will focus on scientific needs for developing operational oceanography, including data assimilation techniques. The applications of operational oceanography will focus on the services for the Indian Ocean and sea level variations. In recent years, the Indian Ocean has been discovered to have large impact on climate variability as well as the oceans have large impact on the huge population in the Southern Asian countries. Indian Ocean circulation varies differently in several respects from Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The most striking difference is the seasonal reversal of the monsoon winds and its effects on the ocean currents in the Indian Ocean. Sea levels can be affected by many factors and are known to have varied greatly over geological time scales. The careful measurement of variations in mean sea level can offer insights into on going climate change, and sea level rise has been widely quoted as evidence of on going global warming. The costal zones in countries like India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are highly vulnerable to changes in the sea level. With advancement in research and technology, ocean models are capable of providing prediction of ocean state in terms of circulation and hydrography. In recent years, data assimilation methods have been developed and applied in many research areas, including operational oceanography. The benefits of data assimilation techniques have significantly improved the routine in daily weather forecasts. Data assimilation improves the estimate of the ocean and atmosphere physical state by combining the data from measurements and from dynamic models in an optimal way. Accordingly its application in ocean and climate modelling is envisaged to improve forecasts and projections.

The winter school program

The winter school program covers Monsoon variability at intra-seasonal and inter-annual time scale and its impact on Indian Ocean Circulation, Operational Indian Ocean Circulation and Modelling, Data Assimilation for ocean forecasting, The Nansen-TOPAZ ocean modelling system, Physics of sea level variations and Indian Ocean sea level variation. The full program is available here.

Out of 70 applications 32 students have been selected for participation from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Cameroon, Russia, France and Norway.  Their educational backgrounds are relevant for the five thematic working groups established during the winter school:

  1. Ocean Modelling,
  2. Data Assimilation,
  3. Sea Level Variation,
  4. Real Time Ocean Observations and
  5. Forecasting, Applications and Users.

It is expected that the students make a report during the one week course of the winter school. The organizers will follow up the results of the research school and encourage that the students expand and publish their student report in a referee journal after the completion of the winter school.

The host organizations

The winter school is jointly organized and co-funded by three Indian and two Norwegian partners

  • International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOocean),
  • Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (ESSO-INCOIS),
  • Nansen Environmental Research Centre – India (NERCI),
  • Nansen Scientific Society and
  • Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC).

The Government of India Ministry of Earth Sciences has approved and is partly funding the winter school program and cooperation and will be hosted at the ITCOocean facilities located at ESSO-INCOIS in Hyderabad. The Nansen Scientific Society and the Research Council of Norway also supports the winter school.