US: Representatives from NOAA and the Agulhas-Somali Currents Large Marine Ecosystem (ASCLME) formalised an agreement that will help African and Indian Ocean states better manage their ocean ecosystems and resources. The collaboration will support the collection of much-needed data and provide NOAA with shiptime from the region to improve weather forecasts and provide climate information. This agreement also fills the remaining gap of the Tropical Moored Buoy Array so that it spans the Pacific, Atlantic and now Indian oceans.
“Communities across the world can expect a substantial return on this partnership; it will help improve climate forecasting, warnings for natural hazards, such as floods and droughts, monsoon prediction and marine environment monitoring,” said Larry Robinson, Ph.D., NOAA assistant secretary for conservation and management and deputy administrator.
During the past three years, a partnership and collaborative understanding has been growing in this region between NOAA and the ASCLME Project, which is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project represents the interests of nine countries in the western Indian Ocean—Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, and Tanzania—with France also engaged as an observer country.
“The western Indian Ocean is no longer an isolated concern but one that attracts the attention and interest of the entire world,” said Leyla Tegmo-Reddy, the United Nations resident coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles. “Equally importantly, we cement an already-flourishing partnership between NOAA and UNDP ASCLME with the strong belief that this will grow and thrive and embrace other partners and stakeholders in the region.”
NOAA and UNDP will work together for the next five years to launch and maintain long-term monitoring systems in the western Indian Ocean. These systems consist primarily of offshore ocean-atmosphere data collection buoys, known as the Research Moored Array for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA). RAMA will acquire data for monitoring ocean conditions and for models that eventually will be part of an early warning system for monsoons, climate change, droughts, floods and ecosystem variability.