Sulagna Chattopadhyay
Geography and You, New Delhi.

The secrets of the seas

Seafarers inhabit two diverse realms, the proverbial chalk and cheese, land and ocean. In their fearless hearts lie a calling so unique that the deep blue instills a need to explore, to seek and to mark the rolling waves with myriad instruments that ferret the secrets of the seas. The Earth System Science Organisation’s premier institution Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), located in Hyderabad sets out to engage in the most arduous of all tasks, making sense of the vast seas and oceans around the Indian subcontinent. There are three sets of players in this great scheme. The first is at sea, a diverse network of buoys deployed with care in far flung locations. Some of these buoys are anchored, while others float below the water, automatically adjusting its buoyancy to reach varied depths. They collect a whole range of information, ranging from temperature and salinity to even wave heights. Second, are the satellites orbiting in space, that link the data emanating from the oceanic buoys and relay it in real time to a dedicated array of computers housed in the institute. And finally, the data computing laboratories that present the big picture, coalescing findings from the tiny secrets that the watery depths throw up. The people of ESSO-INCOIS stand tall, guiding seafarers and the coastal community towards reaping the benevolence of the deep, as also protecting them from its intermittent maleficity. This issue is thus dedicated to the sentinels of the seas—the scientists of India’s pride, the ESSO-INCOIS. Happy reading.