UK scientists are making the last-minute preparations before departing for India next week for the NERC–MoES funded research cruise aboard the RV Sindhu Sadhana. The seven Seagliders, nine Argo floats and all the other equipment to measure temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll fluorescence. All of these observations will allow us to understand how the dynamics of the Bay of Bengal evolve during the monsoon, and how oceanographic processes influence the rain that then falls on India. It is going to be one of the most ambitious research projects ever conducted in this part of the world, and certainly the most observations ever gained at sea during monsoon conditions, when the wind and waves will be at force 6 (30 knot winds, 4 m waves) for the majority of the time. It’s going to be a challenging cruise, but the data will enable huge advances in our understanding of what controls the Indian Monsoon rainfall, and lead to improvements in our ability to predict this rain.
The preparations for this cruise have involved over two years of planning, multiple international meetings and dozens of teleconferences, two separate shipping containers of equipment, six separate clearance documents for each participant, 10 days in Chennai before sailing, and more changes of plan than we should really admit to! It has been a lot of work, and it is truly exciting to see it finally coming together.
Here is our current research plan: