Archive for April 7th, 2010

Implimentation Vertical transport

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Region: Off the coast of Africa we will monitor the upwelling with a series of gliders that will transect the upwelling region.

Spacial sample strategy: We will fly a small fleet of three gliders perpendicular to shore through a region of upwelling.

Time sample strategy: These gliders will fly every other month for three years.

Experimental strategy : The transect they follow will create a time series that will allow us to monitor the areas physical, chemical, and biological components. Each of the three gliders will have a different purpose. The first glider will have a CO2 sensor. This Sensor allows us to monitor the organic and inorganic carbon liberation in the upwelling areas off the coast of Africa. Once we get dependable data we will be able to get a good estimate on how much carbon is being liberated. The second glider will have an acoustic sensor and plankton sensor we will use for biology. In upwelling regions nutrients feed the biology therefore this will reflect nutrient levels in the water. The acoustic sounding instrument will focus on larger animals such as schools of fish feeding in the fertile area. The plankton sensor will be able to measure levels of biology in the water column and will also give us an idea of how much CO2 is being consumed by organisms. The third glider will have a CTD to monitor the physical and chemical components of the water.

Region: Off the coast of Antarctica

Spacial sample strategy: we plan to monitor upwelling with a series of three gliders that will focus on canyon regions that seem to funnel deep water to the surface along the coast.

Time sample strategy: three gliders will monitor the area during the spring and the summer.

Experimental strategy : One glider will have a CO2 sensor which will allow us to see how mucghCO2 is being liberated in the arctic region. Another glider will have a CTD for the physicical and chemical components and the third glider will have an acoustic sensor for monitoring biology. The biology we will be studying in Antarctica Consists of plankton and small baitfish. With this information we will be able to track bait fish movement and a close component which is penguin migration.

Path Planning Begins for the Thermal Glider – Cook

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

My last blog entry was Dec 4, 2009. A long story on the recovery of RU27 off the coast of Spain after it spent 221 days at sea - the first underwater glider to cross the vast Atlantic. Soon we start another journey across. This time with a thermal glider built by Teledyne Webb Research named Cook. Scientists from Teledyne Webb (Tod) and Rutgers (Chip & Tina) launched Cook in the Virgin Islands back on March 21, along with RU26. Both are undergoing their first sea trials. RU26 is heading west to Puerto Rico for pick up by our U.S. IOOS partners in the Caribbean Regional Association ( Josh is preparing RU26, a deep electric glider, for his trip to Antarctica where they plan to deploy RU26 with a helicopter from the ice edge in the Ross Sea. Cook is heading northeast into the open sea. Once Cook is done with its sea trials, Teledyne Webb Research is going to hand the keys over to the Rutgers students that flew RU27 across the Atlantic last year. Rumor is Cook is a fast glider.


The plan this summer is for the Rutgers students to fly north from the Virgin Islands to a latitude of 26.5 N. There they will turn Cook to the east and sample along this line of latitude to help determine how glider data can contribute to the Rapid Climate Change program. The plan is to continue all the way across to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa.


The path planning right now is finding the best route north to 26.5 N. For that we return to the University of Colorado's geostrophic surface current data derived from the satellite altimeters. Even though the altimeters are just giving us the surface currents and the thermal gliders are diving to 1200 m, the mesoscale eddy field we will be navigating extends deep into the water column. If we head straight north, we hit a counter current that pushes us south. If we follow Drakes path from last year to the northeast, the unlabeled yellow line on the map, we again hit counter currents. So the initial plan is to follow the wavy blue line, first to the Northeast, then turn north. This will keep us flying with the currents or in weak currents, avoiding the countercurrents when we can.


If all goes well, we should be visiting our friend Antonio in the Canaries in the fall.