Archive for January 18th, 2013

Double Dutch

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Hey all!

So far this week, both Antonio and I have finally had some success with expanding of our piloting resources- however Antonio is a little further ahead than I have gotten.

This week, we set out to try and gather as many tools as possible to help our brave little gliders on the journeys that lie ahead. For Silbo: Continuing on the over 180 mission he has had thus far to the end zone of Rio De Janeiro.  For Challenger, the northern shores of Brazil.

After some discussion, Antonio was able to gain access to data from GeoEye and SeaStar to create some truly amazing imagery.

First off, Antonio has told us that the shores off of Cape Town are a very busy realm for primary production.

To get an idea of the levels of biology that Challenger is swimming through, Antonio was able to make a 3-D relativity plot.  In the image above, the higher elevation associated with the darker green color is the highly concentrated levels of plankton in the water, drawn to the area by elevated levels of nutrients from upwelling.  However, further off shore their resources are depleted causing the levels of primary production to drop off.

The blooms are so dense, that when we then overlay the current vectors over the map, we can see eddies outlined by the biology

Below is a further zoomed in picture to get a better idea:

In the currents (and plankton), we can see that there is a counter clockwise spinning eddy to our north west, and a clockwise eddy to our south east resulting in the currents aimed North-East towards shore.

These eddies are seen even clearer when analyzing with the Sea Surface Height maps.

Here, we can see that Challenger has set herself up right between a cold and two warm eddies, resulting in a jet that we hope will carry her out west and into international waters without unintentionally entering another countries waters.  As Antonio has put it, She is playing jump rope with the eddies similar to a game of double dutch!

I on the other hand, am still working towards being able to plot up the NCEP RTOFS model of the North Atlantic for Silbo.  So far with the help of John Kerfoot, I have been able to plot images of SST, first of the North Atlantic, and then of a zoomed in region that Silbo is currently flying in:

Not nearly as impressive as Antonio's work but I will get there soon as we continue to push towards advancing our tools to safely pilot these global class gliders on their trans basin voyages.

Force Wind Sea & Honor!