An Anniversary is Noted

On October 29, 1992, Mike Crowley powered up Rutgers' new SeaSpace Satellite Data Acquisition System and tracked an overpass of one of the NOAA sea surface temperature sensing satellites.  It was our first use of the Coastal Ocean Observation Lab's control center, what has come to be known as the COOLroom. Today Mike reminded me it was not much of a room back then.  It still had no ceiling, some internal walls where still missing, and we had to wear hard hats to work on the computer. But on this day 17 years ago, the Coastal Ocean Observation Lab began sensing the ocean off the U.S. East Coast and has never stopped since.

Checking in on the Atlantic fleet, a band of clouds stretches straight across the Atlantic from the U.S. nearly to Spain. We'll need to check how this weather is affecting currents on the European side later on friday.  I keep seeing emails from Antonio specifically on the currents, so I know he is keeping a watchful eye on us.  Its good we have a distributed team.

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First closer to home, RU15 is about to hit its final offshore waypoint.  Its on a dual use mission.  It has the hottest optics package we ever deployed for the ONR mission, and its following the route to collect temperature data for the NOAA IOOS and NOAA Fisheries missions. It should hit its waypoint at the end of the Tuckerton Endurance line today, then head in for recovery.  On Friday we also deploy 3 gliders for the NSF OOI.  Glider party in the Mid-Atlantic.

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Moving south to Teledyne Webb's thermal glider Drake, we have hit the target latitude of 26.5 N and are heading east.  We are running Drake along this line to determine how gliders can best contribute to the programs to monitor the north-south exchange of heat in the North Atlantic.  The circulation is called the Meridional Overturning Circulation, abbreviated as MOC.  The rapid climate change scenarios are often related to changes in the MOC.  Drake is holding the line quite well so far.  For those of us that grew up in the shallow glider world, it is truly amazing to see how well a deep glider can hold a line in the open ocean.

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On to the glamour shot for Scarlet.  At 8 pm on Oct 29, Scarlet surfaced and reported she had flown a total path length of 6,900.43 km.  We'll round down to 6900.

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Zooming into Scarlet's present location, the altimetry map below shows the path planning shocker from the noon surfacing.  The geostrophic currents on the map have totally changed in character. The jet to the southeast is gone, and the eastward currents we hoped to ride along 42 N are down to zero.  Instead of the stronger currents being to our south, the stronger currents are now to our north.  Luckily, Scarlet was on an eastward heading, so the distance to either route is the same.  With this new information, we turned Scarlet northeast into the region with larger currents. According to this sea-map, the currents should be first to the northeast, and then to the southeast.

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The satelite Sea Surface Temperature map below is in general agreement with the altimetery.  Where the currents are northeast, we see warmer water heading north.  Where the currents are southeast, we see colder water heading south.

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Lastly the recovery planning plot.  Our first task is to get into Spanish waters by crossing the 200 nautical mile limit (thin yellow arcs) that marks the outer edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). As of 8 pm tonight, Scarlet is 269 km from the outer edge of the Spanish EEZ.  Once we cross this line, our job is to position ourselves in Spanish waters at a location that is most favorable for recovery.

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