Archive for August 30th, 2011

The Aftermath

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Hey all!

I would like to apologize I was writing this Friday but then was distracted by Irene and headed home for the storm but I am finally getting a post back up.  But our prayers are out there for everyone effected by the storm and it's aftermath.

Route 18 at the exits for Rutgers University

Spectacles such as this shot of Rt 18 North and South bound with New Brunswick NJ, on the left and the Raritan River over the barrier to the right were scene all along the eastern seaboard of the United States from the Carolina's all the way up through Vermont, to where Tropical Storm Irene now sits up along the eastern shore of Canada.

Unfortunately, as Challenger is in the midst of storms 25 & 26, it may feel Irene's wrath as well if the Jet Stream carries her that way.

But back to looking at Challenger's progress... As of yesterday morning, Challenger has officially made it south of the southern tip of England!

ULPGC Sea Surface Height model with Currents

Over the past week we have made some great progress as we have gone from one eddy to the next, and with the way point changed to just about above the Azores, we can keep on our path to the south.  Looking at the sea surface height data from U. Las Palmas, we have been riding the eastern side of a number of warm eddies, and if we catch the SW currents we predict, we should cover quite a bit of lounge.

The eddies also are picked up quite well by the sea surface temperature from Las Palmas shown below

The picture above shows the sst that very clearly outlines the gradient caused by the gulf stream that we are beginning to breach.

Taking an even closer look with the 72 hour satellite imagery from Las Palmas, we can see an arm from the gulf stream swirling up and around in the pattern of a warm core eddy that also follows the currents forecast.

Finally, last week we made a few adjustments to the flight characteristics of Challenger, including making the dive angle less extreme.  This caused two things: 1st was that it caused each dive to take longer, but 2nd it proved to be very energy efficient.  A plot of energy consumption predicting how long our batteries will last is below.

from Ruben Marrero

Stay tuned for future updates!

Nilsen & Antonio