Coastal lines of the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and Caspian Sea and even of the lakes are strategically important for Islamic Republic of Iran. Significant part of Gas and oil extraction and the pipelines are concentrated in these areas. One quarter of Iran population lives in coastal areas. Major shipping and goods transportation are done through the sea. Major fisheries are in these areas and the coasts are recreation areas for attracting tourists.
But regarding the history of natural disasters occurrences, we should pay attention to the economic, social effects caused by these hazards. Having long coastal lines, Iran is affected by different hazards including tsunami, rip currents, storm surge, high waves, water level change, oil slick movement, and red tide.
Iranian National Center for Ocean Hazards (INCOH)
Iranian National Institute for Oceanography (INIO) established a national center for forecasting and warning hazardous marine phenomena regarding the numbers and importance of marine hazards in the country.
Establishment of Iranian National Center for Ocean Hazards (INCOH) was approved by the INIO boards of trustees and by the Ministry of science, research and Technology of IR. Iran in 2009.
INCOH is focusing on researches on the risks from Iranian seas marine hazards, including oceanic climate change, tsunami, rip current, waves, oil slick movement, and biological hazards to contribute to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities, their infrastructure and service-providing ecosystems. In this regard, INIO has close cooperation with Disaster Management Organization for on time warnings and mitigation of the risks from potential marine hazards.
INCOH is a high qualified national research center that strives to fulfill the educational and social needs of the country in respect to the mitigation of marine hazards. INCOH‘s mission is to study oceanographic aspects of the hazardous and extreme marine phenomena to forecast and warn their risks.
· Fundamental and applied researches in the adjacent seas in order to understanding the forecastability and extreme characteristic of the marine hazards
· Forecasting and warning marine hazards to mitigate their hazardous human, economic and environmental impacts
· Public awareness and interaction with the related national and international organization
In order to achieve the mentioned goals, different programs were defined at INCOH. The first phase of the program was establishing an integrated forecasting and warning system.
The main programs of INCOH are as follows:
· Measuring, modeling and zoning the risk of rip currents
· Tsunami modeling in the Gulf of Oman and Caspian sea as well as zoning the risk of floods
· Measuring, remote monitoring and modeling the biological hazards
· Measuring, modeling and forecasting the pollution spill movement
· Measuring, remote monitoring and modeling the marine climate change
· Measuring, modeling and forecasting the wave and surge
· Presenting educational programs and developing public information system to enhance the national capacity for confronting the marine hazards
· Establishing an integrated forecasting and warning system for marine hazards
· Inspection the possibility of the marine hazards occurrences by studying the changes in marine environmental conditions, forecasting them and warning them
The history of occurrences of these hazards in marine environments reveals the importance of paying attention to the economic, social and safety aspects of theses hazards. Moreover, marine activities are noticeably developed recently in the country and many economic activities are focused in northern and southern coastal lines.
Necessity of forecasting and warning marine hazards
Forecasting and warning marine hazards is the most economical way for confronting marine hazards. Marine hazards include a wide range of physical and biological phenomena. Physical and hydrodynamic characteristics of the environment are the most important factors which affect the distribution of marine hazards, including the algal bloom. Some marine hazards affect not only marine and coastal environments, but also kilometers of land. Land climate conditions, such as storms, droughts and floods are affected by oceanic climate change and cycles. Forecasting and warning marine hazards decrease the human, economic and social costs and define the orientation of developing plans for the marine and coastal areas and even for land. Therefore, forecasting and warning marine hazards plays a key role in developing plans of the country. Knowledge of marine hazards and warnings for them needs a wide cooperation of marine experts and oceanographers. Physical oceanography, marine biology, marine events modeling, coastal engineering, oceanic engineering, satellite oceanography, marine data management, marine geology, chemical oceanography, and marine geophysics are the main knowledge for forecasting and warning marine hazards.
Occurrences of destructive natural hazards necessitate the development of an integrated forecasting and warning system. This system was established at INIO based on the hazards risk and their forecastability.