Rip Currents

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Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have embarked on a project to continuously monitor and issue operational forecast alerts of rip currents.

About Rip Currents

  • These are a strong flow of water running from a beach back to the Open Ocean, sea, or lake.
  • These are one of the most well-known coastal hazards on beaches around the world. 
  • Formation
    • They are formed by a beach topography. 
    • They can occur in areas with hard-bottom (rocky) or soft-bottom (sand or silt) beach topography.
    • A beaches topography includes the area outside the water, such as dunes or marshes. 
    • Beach topography also includes the area within the water, like sandbars, piers, and reefs. Rip currents often form around these parts of a beachs topography.
    • They can form in a gap between sandbars, piers, or parts of a reef.
  • Such underwater obstacles block waves from washing directly back to sea.
  • The water from these waves, called feeder waves, runs along the shore until it finds an opening around the obstacle.
  • Contrary to popular belief, a rip cannot pull a person down and hold him/her under the water.
  • It simply carries floating objects, including people, out to just beyond the zone of the breaking waves.

Q1) What is Ocean current?

These are the continuous, predictable, directional movement of seawater driven by gravity, wind (Coriolis Effect), and water density. Ocean water moves in two directions: horizontally and vertically. Horizontal movements are referred to as currents, while vertical changes are called upwellings or downwellings.

Source: INCOIS, ISRO to study rip currents for safer beaches