Southern South China Sea (SCS) is one of the largest continental shelf seas in the tropics. Being part of the shallow Sunda shelf, Peninsular Malaysia coast facing the sea is very unique in few characteristics. This sea is home to a vast community of marine resources such as fish, corals, marine mammals, organism to name a few. Not only that, the geographical setting makes the dynamical characteristics different from others. Climate of the monsoon system is a major contributor to the diversity of the bi-annual dynamics of the area which are very complex. This combination gives a large influence on the overall marine ecosystem in the area. Nevertheless, our understanding of this ecosystem is still minimal and the effort to explore it is indispensable. Malaysia Coastal Observation Networks (MyCON) is planned to develop a platform to organize scientific data collection program to amass critical data pertaining physical ocean data. This initiative is a proactive response to the need of an organized data collection and enhancement of marine observation system in our country. This effort is hope to provide more information to better understand the state of our sea.
MyCON is designed to monitor certain characteristics of the ocean dynamics that produce important features along the coast of Peninsular Malaysia. One of the recent researches found the dynamic system of the south west monsoon produce upwelling along the coast. Such feature is expected to influence the ecosystem by providing higher productivity in the area of upwelling. On the other hand, strong wind during northeast monsoon generated strong waves. In recent years, some important beaches along the east coast including in Terengganu found to be vulnerable to the wave. The influence of seasonal monsoon that changes according to northern hemisphere summer and winter play a major role in determining the overall dynamics of the system.Issue pertaining climate changes and its impact on marine ecosystem has been a major concern in our region. The data on ocean dynamics that relate to temperature variability seen to be an important parameters to better understand its impact. Vast event of coral bleaching during 2010 has left us with numbers of demanding question. Until now we still unable to provide understanding on the issue because there were very few field data available. It is important to develop our ability in order to quantify, access and analyze coastal variability and change by providing continuous field observation data.
MyCON plan to provide facility that collect oceanographic data along east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and the objectives of this plans are;
To develop specific station and transect for long term data collection and observation
To enhance long term data collection and subsequently improve our understanding on our oceanographic system on scientific
To develop a system to make east coast of Peninsular monitoring data accessible in the data center in an Integrated Ocean observing System (IOOS) compatible format
Study Site and stations
Figure 1: Study area along east coast of Peninsular Malaysia stretching from Kuala Terenggnau to Rompin (Tioman Island). Dotted lines shows mooring buoys and permanent transects stations
1. Permanent Transect
Four major transect are planned with almost 10 stations for each transect. 5 sampling will be conucted each year (Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct), with sampling during monsoon season (Dec) will be conducted using wave glider (Figure 2).
2. Coastal Buoy
The coastal buoy will be a continuous coastal monitoring effort to collect time-series data. The device will be set to be maintaining up to 4 times a year. These coastal buoys will be basically installed with two main equipments at two different locations. Location (Figure 3); i) Kuala Terengganu: The location has been UMT long term data monitoring station since 2011, and this will continue as part of our long term data collection effort to collect comprehensive data in the area. ii) Offshore buoy will be located far from coastal influence. This will allow more understanding between the coastal and offshore system.
3. Wave Glider
The wave glider will be used to collect transect data during northeast monsoon seasosn. It will provide ADCP and CTD which will cover basic physical oceanographic data. However the use of the equipment is essentials since there is no data collected during the spesific seasons because of rough sea conditions. This new technology will help us to fill the gap for missing data.
4. Satellite Data
Ground receiving station own by INOS will be data provider for MODIS sea surface temperature data. This data will be used for comparisons and ground truthing.