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TAO Tropical moored buoy implementation panel - 11
Jakarta, Indonesia
25 September 2012
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The Tropical Moored Buoy Implementation Panel (TIP) held its eleventh session (TIP-11) on 25 October 2012 at Badan Pengkajian dan Penerapan Teknologi (BPPT) in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meeting was held immediately after the INA TRITON Science and Technology Symposium at the same location. About twenty participants from six nations attended the meeting.

The purpose of TIP-11 was to discuss: 1) ship time needs and coordination; 2) mitigating fishing vandalism; 3) shipboard security issues related to piracy; 4) maintaining measurement standards across different mooring platforms and 5) funding.  Progress in these areas through international cooperation will strengthen tropical moored buoy programs and enhance their value for research and forecasting.  

Updates were provided at the meeting on the current status of efforts in each country (China, India, Indonesia, Japan and U.S.) that contributes to the Pacific and Indian Ocean arrays. For the U.S. and Japan, which have led the TAO/TRITON array for the past 25 years, there are concerns about sustainability. In June 2012, NOAA laid up the NOAA Ship Kaimimoana and no cruises have been scheduled until January 2013. The timing was most unfortunate given that an El Niño is underway. Of 55 TAO moorings, 20 were not functioning at the time of this meeting, and almost all of buoys along 95W and 110W were off the air.  Daily data return was down to 55%.  The RV Ka`imikai-O-Kanaloa will temporarily replace the Ka’imimoana in 2013 but with only a 183 day field season (about 75% of that required for standard twice per year servicing).

JAMSTEC will decommission three buoys along 130°E in 2014 because of funding constraints and a 10% reduction in planned ship time for 2013 and 2014. These moorings are not officially part of TAO/TRITON so the there is no immediate impact on the array proper. However, there is urgent need for development of a smaller version of the current generation TRITON and m-TRITON buoys for easier operation and servicing by possible new partners.

It was felt that more effort should be devoted to raising awareness in the scientific community about the value of the TAO/TRITON Pacific array for research and forecasting.  The benefits of the program are shared by all nations affected by ENSO. Thus, there are many TAO/TRITON stakeholders beyond the U.S. and Japan, which at present are the only two nations contributing substantially to its support. To address this issue, it was suggested to hold the next TIP in conjunction with a WESTPAC workshop in Vietnam in 2014 and to invite participation from stakeholders such as ECMWF, NCEP, JMA, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and others. In more general terms, it was felt that the TIP should meet regularly every two years in coordination with a meeting of similar scope and purpose.

Now that BPPT has deployed an INA TRITON mooring at 0, 138°E, the TIP recommended the BPPT establish a TRITON mirror site in the new Marine and Climate Center of Excellence (MCCOE). The TIP also encouraged BPPT to establish a web site in the Indonesian language in order to increase public awareness in Indonesia about Tropical Moored Buoy Arrays.

As new partners become involved in the long-term maintenance of TAO/TRITON, a name change or redefinition of the acronym may be appropriate as a form of recognition for additional sustained contributions.

Finally the TIP would like to thank the BPPT for support in convening TIP-11 in conjunction with the INA TRITON Science and Technology Symposium.  We especially would like to thank Fadli Syamsudin and Wahyu Pandoe, local organizers of the meetings at BPPT, for their careful preparations and cheerful hospitality. Their efforts ensured both a successful TIP meeting and a very pleasant visit to the dynamic city of Jakarta.

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