Archive for July 15th, 2011

And He’s at the 50!

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Hey All!

Well after a week of amazing flying, Challenger 1 has now made it south past the 60° N Latitudinal mark and is now in the 50's!  This past week, the glider has maneuvered it's way through the solar system of eddies Antonio has described previously of the warm core eddy surrounded by a number of cold core ones spinning in the opposite direction.  By using these gyres, we were able to fly south at a pretty awesome speed (reaching 1.35km/hr at some pooints) going nearly 30 km in one day, even though the overall geostrophic flow of the surface currents were to the North.

Total Currents Field from Antonio

In the above image, Antonio plotted up for us the total current field along with sea surface height to best show the position and movement of the eddies in our area.  You can see how to the North West of us there is the warm core eddy that we just used to send us to the south into the cold eddy that we now plan to utilize to swing us around along the path of the arrow.

Even in the presence of all of the storms we have seen, we are still making progress.  It is looking like for the weekend at least we are going to have good weather but as the beginning of next week rolls around we may see a shift in wind and another storm headed our way. In the bottom left side of the pic below you can see the next storm system that will be making its way towards Challenger 1...

Satellite Map of the storms from Antonio

Also Looking at the forecast for the jet stream, it confirms that we have what looks like favorable weather for the next 2 days or so but that starting early next week we may have some violent shifts in the wind patterns above us.  Below is a picture of the current conditions for the jet stream, but if you click on it, it links to a gif that will show the forecasted progression over the next week.

It should be interesting what we see over the next couple days, as this will be the first weekend we fly without current correction on.  Our plan is to follow the path of the cold core eddy we are currently flying near and following it around to the south, allowing Challenger 1 to drift with it.  This will use less energy as we will not be trying to fight the currents as the glider tries to fly directly to it's most recent way point (opposed to flying with current correction on and fighting the currents to fly a direct path).

After now being at sea for 3 weeks Challenger 1 has flown over 500km and collected some really cool looking data.  Below we have nearly continuous cross sections from the deployment through the most recent surfacing of Density, Salinity, Temperature, and Sound Velocity respectfully.







Speed of sound through water column

Finally, we have an update on what has been going on over the past couple days with the deployment of RU 28 that we helped with on Wednesday.

It's Wednesday, July 13, a beautiful afternoon in Jersey City, New Jersey, today is the day where we deploy our first shallow (30m) glider. As we (Nilsen, Alberto, Ruben, Lindsay, Garz, and myself) are unloading the glider van, taking out RU28, a CTD, and other various instruments; we are greeted by our captain and two EPA members. The view as we left the dock was quite humorous, to our right was a huge landfill with a squadron of cranes, swiveling about moving who-knows-what; to our left was Manhatten with the Chrysler Building and the Statue of Liberty in all their glory. The seas were excellent that day, only the occasional semi-massive wave would knock you slightly off balance. As we sailed to our destination, we passed some bluefish, packs of seagulls, shipping boats, sailboats, and a lonely beachball, forever deprived of the playfulness of a child. When we reached our destination, Sandy Hook was visible on the horizon and deployment mode was switched on, Lindsay and Mike delved into the pre-launching routine while everyone else got RU28 ready to depart from the back of the boat.

Oliver Standing by on the back deck with RU28 as we sailed out to the deployment site

All systems were go, Dave from IMCS gave us the green light and RU28 was cast off. After a preliminary dive and surfacing, RU28's job had begun and we sailed back to base, escorted by seagulls and terns.

Garz and Nilsen deploying RU28 off the NJ Coast by Sandy Hook

So now we have two gliders out in the water, Challenger 1 and RU28, located off the coast of Iceland and Sandy Hook, respectively.

Nilsen & Oliver