Technology Projects > Ocean Observation Systems > Introduction


Under the Ocean Observation Network (OON) programme of ESSO MoES, the Ocean observation systems (OOS) group of NIOT is entrusted to undertake the activities on moored buoy programme. The OOS group, erstwhile National Data Buoy Programme, was established in 1996, with the objective to operate, maintain and develop moored buoy observational networks and related telecommunication facilities in the Indian seas. Later, OOS has inherited lead responsibility for a number of important and well-established observational programmes in the northern Indian Ocean. Due to the remoteness of the vast open oceans, there have been a challenge to continuously observe the ocean, which was later harmonized by in-situ and satellite based observations.

Moored buoys have revolutionized the observing system capabilities and made a global system possible. Today, in-situ observations are very important as a complement to satellite-based observations. When assimilated into numerical models, in-situ observations calibrate the model and serve as a reference point. Presently, OOS has established sustained moored buoy network for oceanographic, marine meteorological and tsunami warning applications. Moored Data Buoys are offshore floating platforms, fitted with meteorological and oceanographic sensors, moored at specific locations to observe in situ met ocean data at regular intervals. The observed data is then transmitted through satellite along with location reference, in synoptic hours, to the state-of-the-art shore station facility at NIOT, Chennai.

The next generation of buoy systems called OMNI Ocean Moored buoys in the Northern Indian Ocean are equipped with high-tech sensors to measure ocean currents, conductivity, and temperature up to 500m depth along with solar radiation, precipitation and transmit data in real time through satellite.

As challenges arise in the form of natural disasters, OOS is now entrusted to deploy buoys capable of reporting water level for Tsunami Early Warning System. OOS team has developed, tested and established Tsunami Buoy System and Bottom Pressure Recorders (BPRs) in the Indian Seas.

In addition OOS has established and maintaining CAL VAL Buoy system for satellite data validation in collaboration with SAC ISRO. Further indigenous developments are being undertaken and many such units and sub components developed are working successfully at Sea. Indian moored OMNI buoy system with sub surface sensors is developed and is being tested at Sea. Coastal buoys are installed at four locations viz Goa, Port Blair, Agatti and krishnapattinum and are working using INSAT and GRRS communication system. Data sets are being analysed in house.

Also OOS has joined NCAOR on projects such as Southern ocean mooring system and Arctic mooring system. Efforts are continuing for development of autonomous ocean observation tools such as ROBOFISH, and Variable buoyancy modules. The most important aspect of OOS is the real time dissemination of data, especially during extreme weather conditions. The shore station is manned 24 x 7 and the data obtained from Moored buoy network are disseminated in real time INCOIS.



Objectives of the Programme


  • Establishment and maintenance of Moored Data Buoy network in Indian seas.
  • Real-time data collection of met-ocean parameters in Indian seas.
  • Dissemination of data in real time to INCOIS.
  • Establishment and maintenance of Tsunami buoy system and data dissemination to INCOIS.


Best of practice method is adopted for reliability and standardization which is recognized by "International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange" (IODE) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and buoy data are disseminated to the global community through Global Telecommunication Systems (GTS).
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To study the presence of plastics (macro and micro) in the North Indian Ocean, a project on Assessment of Marine Plastics in the North Indian Ocean under Marine Litter and Micro Plastic was sanctioned by Ministry of Earth Sciences jointly with National Centre for Coastal Research. In addition under the Indo Japan collaboration efforts are initiated to work with JAMSTEC Japan. Under this programme a Best Practice methodology is developed following internationally used practice. Various sampling gears to collect and isolate macro and micro plastics on surface, midwater column and seabed has been developed. Ref: (Documents)



Briefing for Ocean Best Practices System-UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development meetings held at National Institute of Ocean Technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, India on 10th January 2020.(View Document)

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