The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the Worlds five oceans.
Area: 65mn square kms or 5.5 times the size of the USA.
It includes to the east the Bay of Bengal, Andaman Sea, Strait of Malacca, Savu Sea , Java Sea, the Timor Sea & Flores Sea. To the west the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, Red Sea and in the south the Great Australian Bights & the Mozambique Channel.
The currents flow in a clockwise direction in the Northern Indian Ocean, and counterclockwise in the South, explaining why we don’t get waste washed up in Phuket from Indonesia and Malaysia.
Endangered species include Turtles, dolphins, whales, dugongs and reef fish that were abundant and seemed an inexhaustible supply… then there were none.
An estimated 40% of the worlds offshore oil production is in the Indian, whilst her waters are plied by fishing fleets from China, Russia, the Japan and South Korea in addition to neighboring fleets.
The average depth is about 4,000m and is 8,000 at its deepest.
It is the warmest ocean and is impacted, above the equator by the monsoons, with SW winds March through November bringing trash to the beaches and NE winds November through March blowing trash offshore. Because of this warmth Phytoplankton is low, except in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman sea areas which keeps marine life low and most fishing self sustainable rather than commercial.
Plastic pollution already threatens the ecology of the Mozambique Channel, and is a canary to all Indian ocean ecosystems.
Herodotus claimed that he has received Indian gold as many as 2,000 years before the Portugese. In 609 BC Pharoah Necho created a canal linking the Nile to the red sea that claimed 120,000 workers lives to facilitate trade with the horn of Africa so were already avid explorers and forcing sea routes.
This map by Claudius Ptolemaeus of Alexandria (Ptolemy) who lived early in the second century shows an enclosed ocean and that no navigation of Africa was possible.
By the first century of our era, Greek & Roman merchants were trading with India regularly as confirmed by archaeological finds of Roman coins and pottery at Indian sites.
It would be left to the Arabs of Muslim times to explore this vast region and to establish themselves as intermediaries between the Far East and the West. A Greek, Eudoxus of Cyzicus was said to have been one of the first westerners to have sailed across the Indian which is, compared to the other great oceans a relatively calm sea.
Admiral Zheng He, a famous seafarer made several voyages during the Ming dynasty to East Africa.
In 1497 the same year Columbus rounded on the Americas Vasco Da Gama rounded the Cape of Good hope and became the first European opening up western trade replete with cannon, mortar and led the way for an ongoing Asian homogenization that more recently includes sports bars and beer gardens. The Portugese dominated trade with a base in Molucca, controlling all trade from China around to Europe until mid 17th century, then the Dutch & Spanish in search of spices muscled their way in until the British took over power in 1815.
Its waters have since been generally a zone of peace with open shipping lanes.
The Indian Ocean, known at Ratnakara in Sanskrit, meaning the maker of Gems is astounding in its size, tempestuous as all Oceans are but generous in its fringes with azure seas, gentle trade winds, tropical climes, verdant emerald isles, historically abundant reefs and white sanded fringes.
It is truly one of the world most remarkable creations and deserves to be nurtured and preserved as a living being, not raped and rampaged as a broken into shop by looters.
The choice is ours with cross border co-ordination.
NEWS: Southern Ocean warming faster than expected
The Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC has launched a synopsis of the latest scientific research into changes in the temperature, salinity, acidity and circulation in the Southern Ocean.
The Southern Ocean plays a critical role in global and regional climate. More than 90% of the extra heat energy stored by the planet in the past 50 years has been absorbed in the world’s oceans, with the Southern Ocean’s latitude band storing more heat and CO2 than any other latitude band.
The synopsis, titled Position Analysis: Climate Change and the Southern Ocean, is a plain‐English summary of knowledge in this research area.
The latest research shows:
The Southern Ocean is warming faster than the average for the global ocean.
The warming extends to greater depth in the Southern Ocean than it does in low latitudes because of the unique ocean currents there that carry heat deep in the ocean. The large amount of heat stored in the ocean makes it expand, raising sea levels.
These currents also carry large amounts of carbon dioxide into the deep ocean, slowing the rate of climate change. More than 40% of the carbon dioxide released by human activities that ends up stored in the ocean enters through the Southern Ocean.
The Southern Ocean is getting fresher (lower in salinity). The changes in salinity provide evidence that the global water cycle is becoming more intense, with wet areas becoming wetter and dry areas becoming drier, as expected in a warming climate.
Freshening is observed in the abyssal waters off Antarctica south of Tasmania, and in the intermediate depth waters that originate in the Southern Ocean.
New measurements show that even the deepest waters, below 4 km depth, are warming and freshening. This means that even the deepest layers of the ocean can respond to changes in surface climate very quickly.
The ocean is becoming more acidic, making it more difficult for a wide variety of organisms to build shells, skeletons and reefs.
Because the effects of ocean acidification are sensitive to temperature, the threshold will be crossed first in the cold waters of the polar regions.
Indian Ocean sustainable fishing and EU involvement
Nat Geo West Indian Ocean
BBC Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean salinity changes annually