Archive for August 17th, 2011

Arms of the Gulf Stream

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Hey All!

Challenger weaving its way through the eddy solar system


As Challenger 1 continues to work its way south along the eastern side of the second large warm eddy of the solar system and battle its way through our 22nd storm, we continue to make good progress as we are now half way to the Azores!!!  The two images above are of Sea Surface Height showing our path along the eastern side of a large eddy.  Keeping this pace, we could reach the Azores by the 2nd week in October and so if Challenger has begun feeling any effects from biological growth, we will be able to provide aid.

Storm # 22

These storms however are intensifying as we get later in the year.  As the summer months warm the North Atlantic, the strong storms we see along the Eastern Sea Board of the U.S. gain strength as they then are carried by the Jet Stream right to us!

Speaking of the warming seas, lets look at an interesting point in the temperature data from the North Atlantic.

Sea Surface Temperatur Map (Top) and Temperatures at a depth of 300m

The first image is surface temperatures while the second image is of temperature at depths of 300m.  The second image shows how deep the effects of some of the larger eddies can be seen.

Similarly, looking at the temperature profiles from Challenger since deployment, we can see the thermocline grow deeper as we passed through the wall of warm core eddies along our journey.

Finally, we see something very interesting looking at the sea surface salinity maps of the North Atlantic.  Below, we can see that we are on just the outer edge of the northern arm of the Gulf Stream.  We predict, that once we cross into the 40's latitudes and past the edge of the Gulf Stream, we will find even stronger currents that will aid us further on our way to greatness!

Salinity Map of the North Atlantic showing the branches of the Gulf Stream

Stay tuned for more updates soon!

Nilsen & Antonio