Archive for December, 2013

Just in time for the holiday shopping: Pinzon 4D now with Sea Surface Height!!

Monday, December 16th, 2013

You got that right! Antonio and his group have done it again rolling out another new product: Pinzon 4D with Sea Surface Height!

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We are now able to see the altimetric data in 4 D to get a new perspective on how the ocean is moving around Challenger as she is at sea.

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With this new view on the landscape, we can see how with the current way point, Challenger is sailing down what appears to be the outer western edge of a counter clockwise spinning warm eddy and on into the eastern edge of the clockwise spinning cold eddy (the center of this eddy solar system).

This eddy system should continue to help us along over the days to come as it provides some reasonably strong currents in the shallower waters while at depth we continue to have the slow yet persistent flow away from where we are trying to fly.

Force Wind Sea & Honor

Update for Dec 13

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Hey All,

It's been a little while since our last post so I just want to update everyone on Challenger's progress.

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Basically, she has been FLYING.  After 32 days at sea, she has flown 800km, with most recent days clocking in at 28-30 km/day! At this rate we could be seeing the shores of Brazil by late April of 2014.

And her flight has been smooth as well. So far we are seeing no signs of biological interaction with this mission.  She is completing 5 yos between 150 to 980 m every 14 hours like clock work.  It seems, all of Dave's hard work of changing the duration of a segment between each surfacing to minimize surface time at night when the flying fish lay their eggs and the overall effort to avoid contact with barnacles is proving to pay off.

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This week, we gave Challenger a new wp to the south west.  After reaching the edge of the submarine ridge, we made the decision to now add a more southern component to our progress as we are now free of the potentially harmful bathymetry and magnetic presence. Another interesting fact that we have noticed as we progressed passed the ridge, is that the currents have ceased the oscillation we had encountered and have now returned to the steady north east flow from earlier in the mission.

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Looking to Antonio's visualization of the myocean model via PINZON, the currents to the surface continue to flow in our favor to the south west towards South America, confirmed by the direction of our surface drift (blue vector in the second image below).  However if we dive below that past 300m, the subsurface currents persist to the East/NorthEast.  This subsurface resistance we believe will continue for some time, and so it is very important that we continue to avoid any biological hinderance as this will cause drag and slow us further.

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As for now, Challenger is handling things like a champ and we will do our best to keep it that way.

Back at home, the semester is coming to a close and the students are preparing for their finals.  On Tuesday, the students of the Ocean Observatories Class presented their semesters work to Dean Rich Luedescher.

This semester, over 45 students participated in 9 team projects each lead by an undergraduate mentor. Topics covered this fall ranged from future tracks of the Challenger Gliders, analysis of Hurricane impact on the Mid-Atlantic Bight to future collaborative efforts with the Korean research group KIOST.

To view the students presentations, view the classes website here

Force Wind Sea & Honor