Scientific robots to swim in Bay of Bengal in monsoon study

2016-06-14 12:06

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New Delhi – In an effort to better understand and predict South Asia's seasonal monsoon, British scientists are getting ready to release robots into the Bay of Bengal in a study of how ocean conditions might affect rainfall patterns.

The seasonal monsoon, which hits the region between June and September, delivers more than 70% of India's annual rainfall. Its arrival is eagerly awaited by hundreds of millions of subsistence farmers across the country, and delays can ruin crops or exacerbate drought.

Yet, the rains are hard to predict, and depend on a complex interplay between global atmospheric and oceanic movements that is not yet fully understood. They can be affected by weather phenomena such as El Nino. And scientists say they may also become even more erratic with increasing climate change and even air pollution.

"We are aiming for a better understanding of the actual physical processes," said lead researcher Adrian Matthews of the University of East Anglia's School of Environmental Sciences, in a statement released on Tuesday. "Ultimately, the goal is to improve the prediction of monsoon rainfall over India."

Underwater robots

As part of the newly launched $11m study, scientists from British university will spend a month at sea releasing seven underwater robots from an Indian research ship across a 400km stretch of water. The torpedo-shaped robots will glide through the water, monitoring its salinity, temperature and current before surfacing and transmitting data to a satellite.

At the same time, scientists from the University of Reading and the Indian government in a related study will take atmospheric measurements at the same time.

By comparing the two sets of data, scientists hope to better understand how ocean conditions affect monsoon patterns.

This year's monsoon arrived at the southernmost tip of the subcontinent on June 8 – a week later than usual – and has been slow in moving north and providing relief amid a devastating drought that has hit wide swathes of central, eastern and northern India.

The Indian Meteorological Department had projected the rains will reach the capital of New Delhi around July 1.

Read more on:    india  |  natural disasters

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.