IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


27th April, 2024 Geography


Copyright infringement not intended

Picture Courtesy: https://incois.gov.in/

Context: The study conducted by scientists at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) focuses on mapping the Indian Ocean floor (bathymetry) to better understand ocean currents and their impact on weather and climate prediction.


  • The study published in Scientific Reports highlights the critical role of bathymetry in advancing our understanding of Indian Ocean circulation. By mapping the ocean floor and studying how underwater topography influences currents, the study contributes valuable insights to oceanography, weather prediction, and climate science.

Bathymetry refers to the measurement of ocean depths and the study of underwater terrain or topography. It plays a crucial role in understanding ocean dynamics because the shape of the seabed influences ocean currents, water temperature, salinity distribution, and other key parameters.

Key Findings of the Study

  • The study highlights that islands like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Maldives significantly influence Indian Ocean currents. These islands can alter the direction and speed of ocean currents, particularly at deeper levels.
  • Previous Ocean modelling systems underestimated coastal currents around India. By incorporating detailed bathymetric data, the study revealed a significant improvement in the accuracy of ocean models, especially near coastal regions.
  • The study identified the East India Coastal Current (EICC) flowing at depths of 1,000 and 2,000 meters, which exhibited a different direction compared to surface currents. This highlights the complexity of ocean circulation patterns influenced by bathymetric features.
  • A boundary current was observed along the coast of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands at a depth of 2,000 meters. Boundary currents are ocean currents influenced by the shape of the coastline and the underwater topography.
  • The Maldives Islands were found to impact the westward extent of the Equatorial UnderCurrent (EUC), which is a significant ocean current in the Equatorial Indian Ocean.
  • The Equatorial UnderCurrent (EUC) shows seasonal variations in depth and core location. This indicates that ocean currents are dynamic and can change based on seasonal factors.

Implications and Significance of the Study

  • Oceans play a critical role in weather and climate prediction. Accurate forecasting of oceanographic parameters such as currents, temperature, and salinity is essential for improving weather and climate models.
  • The study highlights the need for enhanced ocean observations and improved ocean models. Better understanding of ocean dynamics through bathymetry can lead to more accurate predictions of ocean behaviour.
  • Bathymetry data is vital for ocean general circulation models (OGCMs), which simulate ocean currents and circulation patterns. By incorporating detailed bathymetric information, OGCMs can better represent real-world ocean dynamics.
  • Understanding how bathymetry influences ocean circulation can lead to better ocean state forecasts. This is crucial for various sectors such as maritime industries, fisheries, and coastal management.

Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)

●The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) is a government organization under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.

●It was established in 1998 to provide oceanographic information and advisory services.

●It aims to improve understanding of the Indian Ocean through observations and research.

●It offers various services including potential fishing zone advisories, tsunami early warnings, and ocean state forecasts.

●It assists fishers in locating areas with high fish concentration using data on sea surface temperature and chlorophyll content.

●It monitors seismic activity and sea levels to provide timely warnings in case of tsunamis.


  • The INCOIS study highlights the critical role of bathymetry in understanding and modelling Indian Ocean circulation. This improved understanding can lead to better forecasts of weather, climate, and ocean conditions, impacting countries bordering the Indian Ocean.


The Hindu


Q. Consider the following statements  in the context of bathymetry:

1. Bathymetry is the study of the underwater topography of seas, oceans, and lakes.

2. Bathymetric data is essential for understanding ocean circulation patterns.

3. Sonar technology is the primary method used to measure bathymetry.

4. Bathymetric maps use colour gradients to represent different water depths.

How many of the above statements are correct?

A) Only one

B) Only two

C) Only three

D) All four

Answer: D