Archive for October 19th, 2009

Where no glider has ever gone before…

Monday, October 19th, 2009


This week, the CODAR group (Mike and Lisa) worked on getting a contour map of the surface currents into google earth. A contour map is a map of the average velocities of all the vectors. The contour map is now being overlayed as an image in google earth every hour. We have run into a few problems matching up the map with the surface vectors, because the Spain coverage keeps changing. If the coverage changes again, we are going to have to manually change the coordinates of the image overlay in the KML.

Here is how it looks.


Red is 50cm/s and the darkest shade of blue is 0cm/s. As of this blog, the currents are moving mostly in a Northeast direction at 20-30cm/s. As you can see from this image, in the Southwestern most part of the plot, the surface current velocity is 35 cm/s. We need the second CODAR site to start functioning correctly, because as we have witnessed previously, the stronger currents are located where the coverage drops out. In these areas of dropped coverage, surface velocities may be greater than 50 cm/s, which is too fast for RU27. The currents are still being erratic, having no set pattern. It varies from day to day.

This past week, we also started working on the Wind Data for the North Atlantic. Unfortunately, we have not successfully put it into Google Earth, but it will not be too long before we do.

Hasta Luego,

Mike and Lisa

Goodbye Route 18 Hello A-52

Monday, October 19th, 2009
Once RU-27 is safe ashore inVigo she must make a 6 hour car ride to Madrid. RU-27 must make her way to Madrid so that the Spanish government can officially return her back to the United States as a gift. Currently the plan is to rent a van in Vigo, Spain  and drive to Madrid, Spain with the glider making stops along the way at various points of interest. Al is currently working on compiling a list a of interesting spots along the route to Madrid that would make excellent photo opportunities of RU-27 on its way to Madrid. Once Al has complied the list of points of interests the locations of each site will be placed in Google Maps to show their location on the route to Madrid. Spain has several different car rental agencies, such a Hertz and Alamo, that have cargo vans that would be large enough to accommodate RU-27. Since the standard mini vans will not be large enough to fit RU-27, a cargo van will need to rented, which would have a hull of roughly 15 feet. Car rental agencies, such as Hertz and Alamo, have a policy that allows their vehicles to be picked up in one location and dropped off at a separate location, which would allow us to rent the van in Vigo and return it in Madrid. The drive from Vigo to Madrid will take approximately 6 hours and 5 minutes. The route consists of mainly staying on 2 major highways/roads in Spain called A-52 and A-6. Other car routes are available from Vigo to Madrid, but this route is the fastest route that has several great photo opportunities along its way for RU-27.
Rental Van In Spain

Rental Van In Spain

Map of the car route from Vigo to Madrid

Map of the car route from Vigo to Madrid

 Logistics Group

Dakota, Al, Fillipa, and Nikki

Ahh, Silleiro waves.

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Hello All-

This is Melissa and Dani from the Waves group.  For the past week we have been trying to have a better understanding of wave patterns (direction, velocity and waveheight) and the relationship between waves and winds.

We have been using the Puertos del Estados website to view archived data.  In particular, we have been using their Cabo Silleiro Buoy located at 42.130º N and 9.39º W.  Cabo Silleiro is a deep water buoy that have been measuring wave velocities and periods since 1998 and wave direction since 2003.  At 9º W, this buoy is the closest buoy to Scarlet's "finish line".

Spain deep water buoys

Spain deep water buoys

Though there are many buoy stations, we chose to investigate Cabo Silleiro because it is the closest buoy to Scarlet's finish.

We've been researching November and December wave and wind patterns from 1999 to 2008.  When we got together we looked at the maximum wave heights of all years looking for a distinct pattern.  December's wave heights ranged from 10 to 15 m (2006 had the highest with 15m, 2001 with the lowest at 7m), but November's wave heights were quite random (2001 had the lowest with 5m, and 2002 and 2003 had 14m).

Rather than relying on extremes, we started looking at tables such as the ones below to see the percentage of waves with a given period, direction or wave heights (the ranges are from zero to greater than six meters):


These are the percentages of waves at a given height going in a direction. This is example of what we use to understand November and December wave patterns better.

The more we research, however, the more we realize how random these waves are.  The wind archived data only helps so much; although wave and wind archived data correlate sometimes, we cannot limit our research to surface waves but to deep water waves (which Cabo Silliero measures).  Therefore, we need to look at archived weather data and check for storms, etc.

Us: 1, Barnacles: 0!

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Hello All.

Tonight marks the hurtle over a gigantic milestone in gooseneck barnacle research. From the basement of Mabel Smith Douglass Library, Brian and I finally conquered the barnacle JPEGS, capturing their size in a pixel-to-pixel ratio using the the ruler tool in the Photoshop program. We measured the theoretical, tangential diameter of the glider at the point closest to the sample barnacle, and then measured either the height or the width of the sample barnacle itself. Pretty simple.

The tricky part for us was figuring out how to successfully convert pixel measurements into millimeters. Luckily, there are conversion tools floating around the web, waiting to be found by a pair of eager researchers like Brian and myself. We fished for a bit, and decided to go with a .org site (...based on the mythical legitimacy of the .org genre of websites). The website we chose can be found here. Just put in your pixel measurements, and voila: mm, cm, km, whatever.

By using a proportions formula, that we hope we've set up correctly (...remember, we're biologists, not mathematicians!), we scaled 2 barnacles and a large cluster situated near the front segment of the glider, on the "R" side of the vehicle.

Here is an example of the formula we used (all measurements in millimeters):

Theoretical Glider Diameter/Actual Glider Diameter = Actual Barnacle Height/Theoretical Barnacle Height

"Theoretical" values represent the pixel measurements taken from the JPEG converted to millimeters. The value in bold was the one we were searching for.

We were surprised by the accuracy of the conversion. Our first test subject, Barnacle 1, measured a height - from first visible point of peduncle (stalk) to tip of cirri (featherlike feeding apparatus) - of 43.14 mm after conversion.

lepas anatifera

Lepas anatifera

Our barnacle books have told us that a full grown Lepas anatifera can clock in at around 40 mm! So, Barnacle 1 can be assumed to be a full grown parasite, secreting disulfide fluids with adult-sized vigilance and malice.

The cluster, comprised of 15 visible barnacles, measured 90.58 mm from top to bottom, slightly off-kilter, but helpful. The cluster takes up approximately a little less than half of the glider's diameter (212. 725 mm).

Our third specimen, Barnacle 2, was the sample from which we measured the average height and width of the capitula (flowerhead, or plated body) of the barnacles. The height of B2 was just shy of 30 mm (28.22 mm), and the width was 24.11 mm. The measurements for B2 are interesting because this barnacle rests on (or rather sinisterly cements itself to) the frontmost ring of the vehicle, the width of which is only 15 mm across in actual measurement. So, the capitula of Barnacle 2 is actually both wider and taller than the ring it rests on. The height of B2's capitula (28.22 mm) compared with the total height Barnacle 1, is about half of B1's entire length from tip of stalk to tip of cirri. Just interesting.

The specific measurements themselves, of course, are of vital importance. But, the main point we're trying to make here is: most of barnacles on the glider are full-grown, which means that they were probably residing on the glider itself for around 2 weeks before the photos were taken in the Azores. They also fit within size range suggested for a full-grown barnacle of the Lepas species.

Thanks, Sage, for showing us how to use the Photoshop ruler tool!

Goodevening everyone,

Amanda and Brian

Weather Group Update Week of 10/19/09

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Hello all,

This week we have shifted our focus to include current weather data along the Portuguese and Spanish coasts.  It looks like they will be predicting rain around mid-week due to the formation of a low pressure system in the North Atlantic, as shown by the following images which  show the weather pattern that will effect Western Europe over the coming week.

North Atlantic Weather Map 10/19/09 Satellite

North Atlantic Weather Map 10/19/2009 Data archives for the week of October 19 2008

Lisbon, Portugal-  Very Little rainfall. Excellent Visibility. Temp range: 20-22 deg. C

Vigo, Spain-  Areas of patchy fog made for low visibility. Temp range: 15- 20 deg C

Data Archives for the week of October 19 2007

Lisbon, Portugal-Excellent Conditions. Visibility Good. Little to no rainfall. Temp range: 22-25 deg C

Vigo, Spain- Patchy for and some rain over the course of the week. Poor Visibility. Temp Range: 16-23 deg C

Drake: Moorings at 26 degrees North

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Professor Bryden emailed Marcus and I back, he was excited about Drake and gave us some helpful websites. One of the websites we've already been looking at but the other website was about a glider they sent out in September 2008 as part of the monitoring project to profile the continental slope region near Canary Islands.

Also Marcus put the locations of the moorings we found on the RAPID-MOC website into Google Earth, now we just need to talk to someone about turning it into a KMZ.

Mooring Locations 2004-Present

Mooring Locations 2004-Present

Current Moorings Along 26.5 Degrees North

Current Moorings Along 26.5 Degrees North

Here is a plot of the mooring locations with approximate depths:mooring_location_depthmoorings that didn't have instrument depths I put in at 0 meters, and the instrument depths that had a range were roughly averaged.