September 23, 2008

Thai, Chinese Scientists Agree to Joint Monsoon Study

Text of report in English by Thai newspaper Bangkok Post website on 23 September

[Report by Apinya Wipatayotin: "SINO-THAI COOPERATION: Joint monsoon study agreed"]

Scientists from Thailand and China will jointly study the monsoon and cyclone pattern in the Andaman sea in the hope of better forecasting weather in the region.

The Marine Biological Centre in Phuket and the First Institute of Oceanography in China will sign an agreement on the development of the observation buoy system in the Andaman tomorrow to pave the way for this cooperation.

Under the plan, China will float a special buoy about 100km off Ranong province. It will collect all oceanic information, including sea level temperatures and rainfall patterns in the Andaman sea.

The information collected by the buoy and that of six others in the Bay of Bengal will be sent to China for scientists to study the monsoon pattern in the Indian Ocean, said Somkiat Khokiattiwong, an official at the Marine and Coastal Resources Department who is in charge of the project.

Oceanic experts believe the northern part of the Andaman sea is a source of monsoon winds which have an impact on many countries in Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Burma and Vietnam.

So far, there has been no systematic study of the monsoon pattern in the region to gain a better understanding of the oceanic- atmospheric interaction during monsoon and cyclone evolution.

"We believe that the study will help us to be able to better predict and give more accurate warnings to the public in response to disasters.

At least, we will be able to predict the pattern of rainfall or even drought between six months and one year in advance," the official said.

Better weather forecasting will also benefit farmers so they will be able to prepare in advance to deal with changing conditions, he said.

The study will also be able to predict undersea waves.

Originally published by Bangkok Post website, Bangkok, in English 23 Sep 08.

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