UNIVERSITY of Malaya’s Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences (IOES) is intensifying its research in marine and atmospheric science with regards to environment and climate change, which is bringing about calamities that are hard to predict.
Having been awarded the status of Higher Institution Centre of Excellence (HICoE) under the National Priority Area of Environment and Climate Change by the Higher Education Ministry in 2014, IOES had been undertaking various research in the area to improve the ability to predict and subsequently reduce the impacts and losses caused by the phenomenon.
“With the funding from the ministry, IOES has intensified various research efforts in this direction. The results of the research include publication, cooperation, and human capital development showed a tremendous increase in this period,” said UM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Dr Noorsaadah Abd Rahman.
“In this current times of global economic uncertainties, and the lack of research fund allocation, it is important that researchers, especially UM researchers, strengthen domestic and foreign research cooperation, in accordance with the National Blue Ocean Strategy policy,” she added.
She was speaking at the opening of the recent IOES HICoE seminar, themed “Air-Ocean-Land Interactions and Processes”.
The objectives of the seminar were to share research findings in marine and atmospheric science, strengthen research collaboration among researchers and institutions in Malaysia, and promote the sharing of research facilities among marine and atmospheric science related institutions in Malaysia.
The niche of IOES is based on the principle that air-sea interactions and air-land interactions are the most important mechanisms influencing climate change, extreme weather and episodic occurrences of harmful microbes and pathogens in the aquatic environment.
UM’s Atmospheric Science Centre at the IOES Bachok Marine Research Station had been recognised as a Global Atmospheric Watch Centre by the World Meteorological Organisation. Its meteorological data is available to global researchers working on climate change. This was achieved through close collaboration with the University of Cambridge and University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom as well as the Malaysian Meteorological Department.
A joint laboratory for marine science and technology between IOES and China’s First Institute of Oceanography has also been established, which will be officiated during the China-Malaysia Marine Cooperation Forum in Kuala Lumpur in November.
“I hope and am confident that IOES will continue to receive vital support and strengthen its position internationally in its niche field,” said Noorsaadah.
About 80 participants, including postgraduate students, researchers from various universities and government agencies, attended the seminar.
Amongst the speakers were Professor Datuk Dr Azizan Abu Samah, known for his Antarctic atmospheric research as well as flood forecasting work; Associate Professor Dr Lim Po Teen, one of the region’s experts in harmful algae blooms; Associate Professor Dr Lee Choon Weng, who is an active marine microbiologists, who spoke on anthropogenic impacts on estuaries and coastal water, especially with reference to pathogens; and IOES director Professor Dr Phang Siew Moi, known for research in microalgae and seaweeds.