Recognizing the important role played by satellite-derived sea surface height anomalies and upper ocean heat content (UOHC) in cyclone track and intensity prediction in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Hyderabad, India, organized a 2-day workshop. The goals of the workshop were to discuss recent advances and future work in the investigation of the role of oceans in cyclone track and intensity prediction, with special emphasis on northern Indian Ocean cyclones, and to strengthen the existing collaborative scientific investigations between NRSC and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The workshop also complemented other efforts by NOAA and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) geared toward the use of field experiments targeted to specific cyclones in the Bay of Bengal.
Discussions at the workshop highlighted the fact that altimeter-derived UOHC fields are more effective than sea surface temperatures alone in reducing error in cyclone track and intensity prediction. This is because with atmospheric conditions remaining the same, it is the upper ocean, not just the surface, that interacts with cyclones. Because the current network for sustained ocean observations was not specifically designed for the study or forecast of tropical cyclones globally or in particular in the northern Indian Ocean, products such as UOHC derived from satellites are the most appropriate alternatives for monitoring the upper ocean thermal structure.