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IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society

Partnerships at Work: the Monsoon Onset Monitoring and its Social & Ecosystem Impacts

WESTPAC held one side meeting on 25-26 November in Manila, Philippines during the East Asian Seas Congress 2009 on the Monsoon Onset Monitoring and its Social & Ecosystem Impacts.

Being one of most well known monsoon systems, Asia Monsoon has been playing a significant role in the agriculture and the livelihood of people in the region as it brings heavy rain for the wider Southeast Asian Basin and its neighboring countries. However, if the Asia Monsoon deviates from its normal pattern, it will cause floods and droughts, thus finally resulting in the disruption of agricultural operation, even displacement of inhabitants. In this sense, accurate forecasting of the timing of the onset is therefore very important.

To this end, IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) developed, within its framework of South East Asia-Global Ocean Observing System (SEAGOOS), one pilot project entitled “Monsoon Onset Monitoring and its Social & Ecosystem Impacts” (MOMSEI). This pilot project, through enhancing the monsoon onset monitoring capability in the Andaman Sea in synergy with the on-going efforts of Indian Ocean Observing System (IndOOS), aims to improve the understanding and forecasting of Asia monsoon and its multi-scale variability. In addition, this pilot project can also demonstrate the value of ocean observations for the ecosystem conservation by analyzing the possible link between the Monsoon onset and coral reef bleaching in the Andaman Sea. It is said the coral reef bleaching in the Andaman Sea has a strong seasonality and tendency to occur during the pre-monsoon onset period when the sea surface temperature (SST) reaches its annual maximum. Hence the monsoon monitoring information, particularly its onset time and strength, will help evaluate the coral bleaching risk. The MOMSEI side meeting discussed the potential link between the coral bleaching with the monsoon climate variability, identify the possible collaborations with other partners in the region, and further finalize the science plan of the pilot project.

For more information, please contact co-conveners:
Mr. Wenxi Zhu Head UNESCO/IOC Regional Secretariat for WESTPAC (WESTPAC)

Dr. Weidong Yu Director Lab. Ocean-Atmosphere Interaction and Climate Change First Institute of Oceanography State Oceanic Administration of China

Dr. Somkiat Khokiattiwong Phuket Marine Biological Center Department of Marine and Coastal Resources of Thailand