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BOOK REVIEW

Marine remote sensing applications, edited by S. Ramachandran, Published by Institute of Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai-600 025. June 2000, 372p.

Marine environment occupies a very vast part of the earth surface and the economy of mankind has been deeply associated with the ocean. They are always important, but they are even more important now, because population is increasing (60% of the World population live there i.e 3 billion people) and land resources become limited. Hence the marine environment attracts the individuals, institutes and govenment agencies allover the world, who are concerned about the state of art in this region. This region attracts large number of research scientists also who are concerned about the problems and solutions towards a peaceful and sustainable use of the ocean. So besides conventional methods used for scientific studies which lack wide and repetitive data collection in a short span of time, the modern and latest tool like remote sensing, GIS, RDBMS are used for their unique capabilities of providing repetitive and synoptic coverage over the vast coastal regions; they are also relatively cheaper, used in cloudy and rainy days and provide real time picture of natural hazards occurring all over the world. Hence RS (remote sensing) application is the need of the hour for sustainable development and management of the marine environment.

This book is a compilation of twenty articles of various remote sensing applications and other integrated information systems in the study of various ocean parameters, features, processes and in the exploration and exploitation of various marine resources of India.

The first paper deals with the basic principles of RS. This gives a basic idea to those who are not even familiar about remote sensing. It deals with platforms, sensors, electromagnetic energy interaction in the atmosphere, earth surface, major and sub-types of remote sensing, optical remote sensing, thermal remote sensing, microwave remote sensing. , etc. Those who are aliens to remote sensing will also be briefed crisply the basic and their applications in marine environment.

Prof. Ramachandran has highlighted briefly the application to Oceanography such as the study of the Ocean and current circulationís, waves, application to biological productivity, oil slick, pollution in the oceans, salinity prediction, etc. Then he has highlighted the marine satellite information service (MARIS) national program and its objectives such as SST generation and dissemination, SST/Microwave applications, Ocean modeling, marine remote sensing information system carried out by various agencies in India under this program. This will help the reader to understand what is going on in India about marine remote sensing and whom he can approach for specific marine environmental data in India. Further he and his co-authors have given the detailed note on the satellite remote sensing application in coastal zone management. This part gives details on the various latest satellite data available for coastal studies with their resolutions. They also have briefed the coastal zone parameters that could be studied using satellite data with this methodology.

Hanumantha Rao has highlighted the need for the ocean colour data for fishing and marine transportation and its application in oil and gas exploration and offshore industries. He has given list of information that the ocean colour sensors provide to understand some scientific issues like production of global marine phytoplankton, global data on marine optical properties etc.,. He also highlighted their general application to ocean studies along with some examples from case studies mainly from foreign countries along with requirements for ocean colour sensors. Those who want to work on this emerging field will be highly benefited.

Sea Surface temperature (SST) is very important to understand the climate variability, global warming etc.,. Satellite offers good opportunity to obtain measurable SST comparable and more accurate than conventional methods. Hari Prasad has discussed the processing of the satellite data to retrieve SST using NOAA-AVHRR data and delineating potential fishing zone. He has also given the brief methodology along with a flow chart to process the data.

Another paper by Mohan and Ramachandran gives a vivid picture of remote sensing application in fisheries. Here they have compared the East and West Coast fish production, upwelling, forecasting fish production using remote sensing data in a nutshell with good data from the entire Indian coast. A brief discussion on the potential fish zone validation along the Kerala coast and Minicoy coasts are also discussed. This paper gives a detailed table of variety of pelagic fish production in India from 1989-1998.

Application of Remote sensing in Mangrove wetland management has been discussed in the next paper co-authored again by Ramachandran. They have discussed the physical set up, human dependency, and nature of exploitation and magnitude of degradation of mangroves in the recent past. The study pointed out the various satellite data applications capabilities to mangroves with special reference to Pichavaram region and sparingly touches other mangroves of India (except Hoogly) with brief discussion of each system.

Thanikachalam, Ramachandran and coworkers has given a brief idea about application of RS to Coral reef studies such as mapping, identification, etc., in Gulf of Mannar and Kadamatis island. They have discussed the application of RS dataís such SPOT, Landsat, IRS series LISS-I and III. Since it covers repetitively the smaller features like reef vegetation and coral variety and their associated features in a regional scale. General aspects of remote sensing application in understanding near shore processes were dealt in detail in the next paper authored by Sridhar.

Surendran, Ramachandran and coworkers has done a detailed work on integrating RS data and GIS for harbor management from Tamilnadu . They have discussed the key issues for landuse map around harbor region and microwave remote sensing application in bathymetry profiling, etc. and linking with GIS for meaningful interpretation. Aniruddha Roy and A. Mukerjee has discussed the ARC/INFO technology for marine remote sensing in a crisp manner. Its gives an insight to the new user who want to use this technology. Aquaculture management using remote sensing techniques was discussed in next two papers. They have discussed the degradation of land around this region due to aquaculture activities. Ramachandran, Ramesh and coworkers has discussed the application of RS and GIS in Coastal Lagoonal Ecosystem from Pulicat lake. They have emphasized, based on their work, the importance of these tools in decision making, assessing the present ecological status and future predictions to conserve the ecological health of brackish water lake. Beside these papers few related papers were also presented which includes: identification of groundwater recharge zone using remote sensing; coastal zone dynamics in central part of Tamilnadu; coastal land use and their dynamic changes in Uttara Kannada district and critical habitat information system using relational-hybrid GIS in Gulf of Mannar.

Since this book is a compilation of articles there are few repetition in selected papers, which are unavoidable. The author might have invited few more papers from other part of India to cover every aspect of the coastal India. It is a guide to those who does not even have knowledge on RS and its application in coastal studies. In depth discussion on any specific topic is lacking here. Few authors has reproduced the work already published elsewhere or repeated some aspects in the same publication. But no systematic compiled data like this on use of RS and GIS in Indian coast is available so far in India. One chapter might have been added on the importance of field data and field truth checking before interpreting the RS data (one or two have mentioned briefly the importance of ground truth). This book is recommend for those individual, govt. agencies, researchers and scientists working on coastal area and its management. The effort of Professor Ramachandran is quite laudable and major part of this book seems to be a compilation of the work carried out in his centre for the past one decade. Overall itís a good welcome attempt for the sustainable use of Ocean resources and is strongly recommended for use by researchers.

AL. Ramanathan
Associate professor
School of Environmental Sciences,
Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi.


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