The Indian Ocean Research Vessel (ORV), Sagar Nidhi, was launched as part of an Indo-US expedition seeking to find answers to the vagaries of the Bay of Bengal-fed southwest monsoon, which accounts for 70% of India’s annual rainfall.
Sagar Nidhi will sail through the Bay of Bengal for a month collecting data on ocean conditions at different depths and locations and study the underlying principles of interaction of the uppermost layer of the ocean with the atmosphere.
The project seeks to cast light on the complex mechanics of the monsoon, which have confounded researchers for a long time. The biggest challenge is the unpredictability of the weather phenomenon, including, crucially, why there are breaks in the June-September rainy season.
The intra-seasonal variability of the monsoon is a major problem in India, where long dry spells have been associated with droughts, while long wet spells have caused floods, landslides, loss of life and damage to property. Skilful prediction of these varying patterns could help officials prepare better for the monsoon each year.
Scientists on the ship will also release radiosondes—types of instrument packages attached to weather balloons—to gather meteorological data. India Meteorological Department has also released them from its coastal stations.
ORV Sagar Nidhi
- Oceanographic Research Vessel (ORV) Sagar Nidhi is primarily used for the country’s marine research programme. It is the third research vessel after Sagar Purvi and SagarPaschimi.
- A highly sophisticated custom-built vessel, Sagar Nidhi is used for conducting oceanic studies and search for scientific evidence about the origin of life and cures for chronic diseases.
- The gigantic vessel is also used for oceanographic and hydrographic research, including water, ice and core sampling of the seabed.