The Science Behind Waves, Storms, Tsunamis and their Prediction

In the heart of Chennai, the looming threat of cyclones every November keeps the city on edge. Scientists at the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in Pallikaranai are at the forefront of monitoring and predicting natural hazards like tsunamis and storms.
Established in 1996 under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, NIOT conducts vital research on oceans and weather patterns. The National Data Buoy Program, a key initiative, deploys data buoys equipped with sensors across the Indian Ocean to monitor changes in weather and ocean conditions.
M. Arul Muthiah, overseeing Ocean Observations at NIOT, highlighted the strategic placement of data buoys in 15 locations since 1997. These buoys, supported by solar and lithium-ion batteries for uninterrupted operation, play a crucial role in detecting deep ocean currents and providing early tsunami warnings. The data collected by these instruments is transmitted via satellites to shore-based control centers every three hours. By monitoring sea surface temperatures and other dynamics, scientists can accurately forecast storms and tsunamis, enhancing disaster preparedness and community safety.
Despite their critical role, these monitoring systems face challenges from man-made disturbances like fishing activities that can damage the buoys. Collaboration with international partners strengthens early warning systems globally, emphasizing the importance of preserving these monitoring technologies for ecological preservation and disaster resilience.

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