Bureau of Meteorology to support second international Indian Ocean research expedition

The Bureau of Meteorology will support the second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2) which launched in Goa, India, last Friday (4 December) in the 50th anniversary year of the first expedition.

The IIOE-2 is an interdisciplinary oceanographic research effort over five years. It aims to build on the scientific understanding of the Indian Ocean region in order to enhance the economic and social benefits of Indian Ocean rim nations, which includes Australia.

Dr Ray Canterford, Bureau spokesperson and Australian national representative to the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), said Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology will play a vital role in the expedition's research effort, alongside a number of government agencies, universities and other Australian institutions.

Secretariat support for the expedition is undertaken through the IOC's Perth Programme Office, which is housed in the Bureau's Perth regional office.

Dr Canterford said: “The Bureau provides critical operational and administrative support via the Perth Programme Office, which is also financially aided by the IOC and the Western Australian Government. The Western Australian Government has contributed to the scientific work of the IIOE-2.

“Australia's contributions to the expedition will include ongoing oceanographic observations and a range of IIOE-2 related research activities.”

Over 45 research agencies, from at least 14 different countries, will explore the Indian Ocean and collect useful data as part of the expedition. The science will cross many disciplines and a variety of methods and vehicles will be used to collect data. 

Dr Canterford said: “Oceanographers will find and track large scale currents that cross from one end of the ocean to the other. Seabed properties will be better understood and the upwelling of food rich waters from the deep will be measured and studied.

“The generation of weather patterns above the ocean and the way in which weather systems are energised from the ocean  surface temperature will be measured, greatly improving the understanding of hazardous systems in monsoonal patterns, storms in general, winds and drought/flood phenomena.”

The IIOE-2 operates under the auspices of the UNESCO IOC, the Scientific Committee on Ocean Research and the Indian Ocean Global Ocean Observing System.

Background

  • The first International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE) was undertaken between 1959 and 1965 and it remains the most significant scientific survey of the Indian Ocean ever performed.
  • The Bureau of Meteorology has a significant and long-standing engagement in the Indian Ocean, including an extensive observations programme, providing meteorological and oceanographic data critical to the provision of weather and climate services for Australia and the region.
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