Archive for May 8th, 2010

100 Kilometers to the Start

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Today Cook surfaced 100 km southeast of the 26 30 N, 65 00 W, the starting point for our second Trans-Atlantic section.  We'll be there in a few days, and from that point we turn east towards the Canaries.

Below is the satellite altimetry data we get from Colorado.  it is a plot of the Sea Surface Height (SSH) and the resulting geostrophic currents. Its a prime dataset for the open ocean.We are looking at the two  clockwise eddies up in the northwest corner of the coverage.  They are colored red, meaning they are a sea surface high.  We are getting a boost from the western eddy, and the glider currents in green agree well with the satellite altimetry.

100508_cook_alt1

Below we add the satellite Sea surface temperature (SST).  The agreement between the many eddies in the altimetry and the resulting response in the SST is clear.  It improves your confidence in both products.

100508_cook_sst_alt

Next is the Navy's HyCOM model.  It produces a global forecast, and we pull out a section.  Here we show the model forecast sea surface height and surface currents.

100508_cook_hycom_alt

Here we zoom in to the two eddies in the altimetry, western eddy circled in green, eastern in blue.

100508_cook_zoom_alt

We see areas where it agrees with the sst below.

100508_cook_zoom_sst

And now the model comparison.  There is good agreement between all the products on the western eddy.  But the eastern eddy is different.  Its located farther north in the altimetry data than it is in the model.  It will be the first mystery Cook will investigate.  It will use the good agreement on the western eddy to whip around the start point, and then head across to this eddy and find out who is right.

100508_cook_zoom_hycom

On Wednesday next week we will skype with our partners in the Canaries.  Alvaro, one of the students that visited Rutgers for last year's flight of RU27, will be on the line.  We'll link up the students on both sides.