Scientists Use Satellites To Keep A Tab On Ocean Vortex – ZMR News Blog

Scientists Use Satellites To Keep A Tab On Ocean Vortex


The ‘Great Whirl’ a whirlpool of astronomic proportions off the East African coast can now be better studied through satellites, so say researchers. The whirlpool is caused due to a change in the direction of winds from the west to the east as they move across the Indian Ocean.

Satellite data gathered over the last 23 years has disclosed information on the Great Whirl which was hitherto unavailable to the scientists. The Great Whirl had been a source of great interest to the scientists but several difficulties lay before them for undertaking a closer observation and consequently better research.

Scientists used sea level satellite data for the period 1993-2015 to make their analysis of the Great Whirl with the help of a novel method. The method enabled them to effectively ascertain the boundaries of the Great Whirl and monitor the area. The Great Whirl stretched over an average of 275,000 square km. over the past 23 years and lasted for a period of 198 days on an average though the longest was a period of 256 days in 1997. The spinning of currents took place around the Great Whirl’s center which went high above the sea level.

Close links are said to exist between the Great Whirl and the occurrence of the Indian monsoon and if the researchers could delve deeper into the formation of the Great Whirl to find a specific pattern then predictions with regard to the monsoons in India could be more effective. And this could have great socio-economic ramifications for the country.

But such a pattern is yet to be ascertained. Once established, it will enable researchers to give more conclusive estimates about the Indian monsoon. The scientists aim to use satellites in throwing more light on whirlpools that play significant roles in other areas too. The Gulf of Mexico, for example, has a number of whirlpools with very powerful currents and that could have an impact on the oil drilling operations in the region.

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