CEMAS Director’s

Dr. Francis P. A.,

  • Director
  • Centre of Excellence in Marine Studies (CEMAS)

We welcome graduates on board CEMAS. Let’s sail on the journey of higher education in "Marine Studies".

Dr. Francis P. A.,
Director, CEMAS

Dr. Francis P. A. took over the charge of Director, Centre for Excellence in Marine Studies (CEMAS) of University of Mumbai on 29th April 2022. Before Joining the University of Mumbai, he was the Head of Ocean Modelling and Data Assimilation Division of Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), an autonomous body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Earths Sciences, Govt. of India. Dr. Francis holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Indian Institute of Sciences, Bengaluru), Master of Engineering degree (Indian Institute of Sciences, Bengaluru) and Master of Science degree in Meteorology (Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi). Dr. Francis was a visiting fellow in Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of the Columbia University, New York, USA in 2005. He is a recipient of National Geo-sciences Award (2014) instituted by Ministry of Mines, Govt. of India, Merit Certificate in Ocean Sciences (2010) instituted by Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India, START Young Fellowship (2005) by START International Secretariat, Washington D. C. and C. V. Kurian Endowment Award (2000) from CUSAT, Kochi. He is also an elected Fellow of Telangana Academy of Sciences (2018).

An important scientific contribution of Dr. Francis is the development of the High-resolution Operational Ocean Forecast and reanalysis System (HOOFS), that comprises a suit of numerical ocean model configurations based on the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) to which near-real time ocean observations are assimilated using Localized Ensemble Kalman Filter (LETKF) algorithm. He led a team of scientists in Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) to design, develop and operationalize the HOOFS system. The forecasts issued by INCOIS based on HOOFS are extensively used by a wide spectrum of users ranging from traditional fishermen to high tech maritime industries, from shipping agencies to Indian Navy and coast guard for their safe and effective operations in the sea.

Specific applications developed by INCOIS such as Search and Rescue Aid tool, oil spill trajectory forecast system, experimental potential fishing zone forecast service etc. also extensively make use of the products from HOOFS.  Dr. Francis and his team has done extensive research on the processes that are important to improve the quality of ocean forecasts, particularly in the coastal waters around India and their representation in the numerical models. This includes the analysis of ocean model simulations and in situ and satellite observations to document the variability of internal tides in the Bay of Bengal, their sources of generation, their role in the dyapicnal mixing and the structure and dynamics of undercurrents along the east-coast of India.

For the past two decades, Dr. Francis P. A. has been working extensively on the variability of Indian summer monsoon rainfall (ISMR) and its teleconnections with the coupled ocean-atmosphere processes over the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans. Dr. Francis and his collaborators discovered that an important phenomenon, the Equatorial Indian Ocean Oscillation (EQUINOO)- a see-saw in convection over the tropical eastern and western Indian Ocean, also plays a critical role on the interannual variation of ISMR along with the El Nino and Southern Oscillation (ENSO). They had shown that EQUINOO, together with ENSO explains all the extremes of Indian summer monsoon. He has done extensive research on role of Oceans in the variability of Indian summer monsoon rainfall.  Dr. Francis has also documented the space-time distribution of intense rainfall events over the west coast of India and identified the convective systems responsible for such events.