Path Planning Begins for the Thermal Glider – Cook

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 (http://cara.uprm.edu/). 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.

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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. http://www.noc.soton.ac.uk/rapidmoc/ The plan is to continue all the way across to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa.

100407_cook_ru27_basin

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.

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

2 Responses to “Path Planning Begins for the Thermal Glider – Cook”

  1. Antonio G. RAMOS Says:

    Antonio likes this !!

    🙂

  2. Scott Glenn Says:

    Welcome Antonio!!!
    The international team is back at sea.
    Hopefully this fall we will be on another boat trip together - this time leaving from your lab on Gran Canaria.
    Just 5,000 kilometers of open ocean in the way.
    See you soon.
    Scott