Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Bermuda Triangle

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

A captain assembled a crew for an expedition from Sandy Hook, New Jersey to the Caribbean with stops in Bermuda and Puerto Rico, and back up to the Outer Banks, North Carolina. The total journey was 2519.49 nautical miles and would have taken 13.48 days by ship, 2.95 years by glider, and 57.59 hours by car. Unfortunately, the captain and his crew never made it from Puerto Rico to The Outer Banks. The last known radio communications relayed screams and eerie, ghost like sounds. It is suspected that they were lost to the Bermuda triangle. Satellite images from that day show large clouds over much of the area, so no data was able to be collected. Patrick Ambrosio OceanographyLayer

Challenging the Models

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Hey All,

As our gliders continue to push onwards, both has slowed down a little as we encounter some less than favorable currents.

From the start of this month through this week, Challenger has run into an eddy that developed as we approached leaving us little time to react, resulting in us flying our glider up the eastern side of a clockwise rotating eddy:

In the animation above, we can see how as the glider approached the area in question as there appeared to be currents that flowed up to the north west.  Then as we got closer to the area, the currents shifted and by the time we were about even with the center of the small eddy, the currents then accurately showed the rotation that was plaguing our progress.

Although this causes some frustation as the pilot when we lost some of our speed, instances such as this do leave us with a sense of accomplishment as we can see the data from our gliders being reflected in the models that our data is being plugged in to.

We can also see the fight with this eddy reflected in the velocity data above.  As we approached the eddy, we can see how our velocity continued to plummet until just recently as we rounded the edge of the eddy and now we seem to be increasing ever so slightly.  Hopefully we will be able to sustain this increase in the coming days and build up some more speed.

Over the next day, we will also be keeping an eye on the bathymetry around both Challenger and Silbo, asa they both are in the midst of obstacles:

Challenger is crossing the last of the sea mounts that are associated with the chain we have crossed a number of times now as we put distance between ourselves and the African Coast.

Silbo on the other hand is about to cross the Mid Atlantic Ridge for the second time, the firs being back in June of 2011 when we deployed out of Iceland along the Mid Atlantic Ridge.

Both of these regions reach up less than 1000m in some regions but we have taken the necessary precautions to make sure we do not run aground.

Force Wind Sea & Honor

Continuing the model comparison

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Hey All

This semester, I have made the leap transitioning to being a lecturer for the Ocean Observatories course that I took every semester under Scott Josh and Oscar for 4 years beginning with the fall semester of RU 17.  And in helping with the class, I have built a model comparison tool that takes the data from both Challenger and Silbo and compares it to the data provided to us by the ocean models we have utilized as our road maps.  These models not only provide us with the direction of the currents, but also have temperature and salinity.


One observation we have made now that we are tracking the comparisons, is that it seems that the models are underestimating the temperatures at depth; not fully capturing the temperature transfer at depth in the vertical direction.  This could potentially skew the results of forecasts made based off of this data for such cases as climate change and other cases dependent on similar data.  To aid with this, the data from Silbo and Challenger is now being fed back into the models to hopefully aid in the accuracy as we provide data points that were not previously available.

A few days ago, Silbo suffered from another mysterious reset at depth, followed by an increase in movement by the pitch battery- with little trace of why this is occurring   After analyzing the data, the movement of the battery is still not completely known, however our friends up at TWR have been able to lock it down and reduce the movement.  This has allowed Silbo's spike in energy usage to level off returning the estimate on how much energy remains into next year; well past our estimated date of arrival in the Caribbean in mid summer.

Challenger is continuing to fly well, however, we seem to have found a small eddy that is rotating against our favor, effectively slowing us down.  Over the next couple days, we will continue to explore this anomaly and make a decision as to where to go from here.

Force Wind Sea & Honor


RUCOOL on Antarctic Krill

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

A study by members of RUCOOL (Drs. Grace Saba and Oscar Schofield) and collaborators at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (Dr. Deborah Steinberg) and University of South Florida (Dr. Joseph Torres and Erica Ombres) published recently in PLOS ONE shows that ocean acidification, the decrease in ocean pH associated with the uptake of anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), increases feeding and nutrient excretion rates of the keystone species Euphausia superba (Antarctic krill). The observed shifts in krill metabolism are consistent with increased physiological costs associated with regulating internal acid-base equilibrium at elevated levels of atmospheric CO2. This represents an additional stress that may hamper growth and reproduction, which would negatively impact an already declining krill population along the West Antarctic Peninsula.  Read more and download manuscript here:

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Good morning! I hope I did it correctly

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The title says it all. Not sure if I succeeded though.
-Matthew Tung

Draft Post

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Another brick in the wall….

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Hey guys..

This week and the previous one have been really busy for Silbo and his team. The aftermath of Katia has not been exactly a blue paradise, sunglasses, a fresh drink and tons of pop corns.

The weather has improved and the slight storms reported have been crossing North Silbo. Silbo can now enjoy the stars brightning in the sky at night surfacings before calling home. There are no spetial mentions for the meteo the last week. However, waiting for the calcules of the heat fluxes, it looks that silbo has well reported that tropical storms definitely affect the water column at great depth. Changes on salinity and temperature fields at depth are obvious on vertical profiles.

Figure 1.- Temperature and salinity fields reported by Silbo (23th jun - 23th september).

Another important remark related the meteo, is that last swells affect, but it do not seem to –inertially- oscillate the currents like in the previous week… On Monday, we will have another perturbation coming from the west and the swell would slightly increase the significant height (Hs) of the waves following the forecast of the Spain,s system of marine weather forecasting.

Figure 2.- Marine wearther forecast 25 and 26 september 11.

However, as we posted some days ago, the toast of the week goes to an old and well-known feature.  We have another WALL ahead. It has been the great headache of this week. Our little and brave droid becomes another brick in this liquid wall by moments. The first result of finding a wall is that the glider stops and drifts to any resultant random direction. We found two of these particular glider obstacles during the RU27 mission: The first, was a system of two warm eddies gyring in front and behind scarlet. Currents headed the glider when we move East, and pushed to South when we come back. The other wall found by RU27 was a great inertial oscillation changing the current direction 360 º around scarlet each 16 hours…during some weeks…

This particular liquid WALL found by silbo some days ago, is clearly associated to the western side of a warm (Sun) eddy that has stopped (literally) to our brave droid. We are crossing by the Western (bad) side with counter currents flowing at >0.3 m/s and strong SSHa gradients up to 3 cm/nm. He cannot fight with the strong currents flowing direct to his nose and his flying line. We have suffered some stints with Northern moderate drifting.

Figure 3.- Surfacings of 21th of September 2011.

The question: How to cross it ?
We tried to convert our great Silbo in a 4*4 (strong), but fast (>0.3 m/s) glider to fight the current.

1.- The first option that we tried, changing our WP to 27 W (180 degrees with the current direction). Our aim was to head the wall and try to cross it increasing his speed and changing his navigation schedule. On 27 W we identified a jet stream flowing south. We want to get this good opportunity to get south currents for a while. But it didn’t work. Silbo can hardly advance only a few km/day...

Figure 4.- Current field (down) and N-S meridional component (up).

2.- We also changed to full buoyancy mode since we were drifting to back. During some stints with similar currents and diving periods, we got some interesting numbers. We increased our glide speed from 0.24 to 0.31. And we run a 5 % more of distance by stint: without (4.28km) and with (4,61km) full buoyancy.

Figure 5.- Surfacing reports at half and full buoyancy modes. 22th and 23th of September 2011.

3.- Other options discussed and finally do not executed by different reasons (energy consumption..). Increasing the pitch (better diving speed but shorter distance run) and switching on the Current Corrector.
However, sometimes during this meridional (N-S) mission, we have been forced by the circumstances to give and step back, and see the problem with a little bit more of perspective. We could hardly advanced only some more km/day with this new schedule. Thus, we decided to completely change our GLOBAL strategy. If you can cross the wall, surround it…

Figure 6.- SSHa field. 21th september 2011.

Thus, we changed the WP to the East (22 W), < 180 º related to current direction. As a result, since thursday, we have been drifting to SE-E for some stints. We are still suffering the effect of this great wall (strong NE current). Our target was/is to pass it flying to the centre of the eddy, and then, flowing to the SW again with the South oriented current of the other right side of this warm eddy. We would also avoid the seamounts located around the 44.5 N 25 W. Then, free riding to our little cowboy until the Azores. A visual inspection at sea is projected to be held there.

Figure 7.- Current field. 21th september 2011.


If you can cross the wall, you can surround it…But you can also pass UNDER THE WALL..That is another idea floating in the core group: Changing the flying depth range of silbo. This operation would be especially useful when silbo crosses bad strong upper currents. Diving and climbing at deeper waters like thermal gliders do (for ex Cook, 300-1000 m) would be an interesting option since current fields (soft some areas) would be of moderate currents when compare with these flowing in upper layers.

The core group is working right now on some simulations and technical issues and how we use the layered data of the ocean (NLOM, HYCOM, MyOcean) and how to take advantage for our purposes.  We would update it ….

Finally, just a little reference to the toast of the team this week:  Lauren COONEY from TWR. She has done an incredible great job the last days ...

Force, wind, sea and honor all

Antonio RAMOS, Nilsen STRANDSKOV and Lauren COONEY


draft post

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Aimee Maiorino knows how to post.

The perfect storm…

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Hey guys.

As Scott posted, "each glider has his/her own personality". If there is a word to describe the Silbo,s personality this, definitely, is the "STRENGTH"... He has crossed in these 2000 kms significant changes in the marine conditions (strong meridional/vertical T/Salinity/density gradients).

However, Silbo has shown to be able to change his role, and our little and brave droid becomes a fast glider when current conditions are good (14 km/segment at half buoyancy), or technical improvements are done (full buoyancy mode) (figure 1).

Figure 1.- Silbo course from 2nd to 11th september 11

Another example of his strength is the way he fights the storms without the current corrector (off since some month ago).  A Spaniard proverb says "do not wait the end of the storm...learn to walk in the rain"... Silbo looks to be the paradigm of this deep thought.. Definitely he has learnt...Better, he has had to learn...31 storms in 80 days of mission. 1 storm each 2.5 days....Irene and katia included.

He follows being a little yellow spot fighting in the middle of the ocean, with the waves, the wind and the currents that become stronger by moments due to a series of 5 storms that had been passing the last week...He can hardly advances more than 4 km in the best segments, but the follows drfting to SW surfing the counter strong currents and waiting that direction finally turn to S (SW SE)...

Our target is touching the 26 W meridian until crossing the 44.5 N, where some submarine hills appear eastern 25º20´ W would risk the glider (< 900m depth). However, Silbo will emerge this night surfing strong waves (Hs : 6-9 m). The Tropical storm Katia is coming to his flying geographic domain. (figure 2a and 2b).

Figure 2a and 2b.- Katia tropical storm effect on waves (21.00pm - 06.00am, 11-12 sept 2011).

Then, on tuesday afternoon and wednesday,  the aftermath (figure 3).

Figure 3.- The aftermath (12 sept 2011).

It will be a good opportunity to make a balance of his course and his incredible job recording oeanographic information of the water column down this extreme meteoevents (tropical storm/hurricane/cyclon/typhoon passing over) ....Only a few gliders (RU16 the last) has had this great opportunity:  flying under and target its effect on the water column. We expect that silbo would report a similar profile of temperature to this, observed during the Irene (et al) storms passing the last week (silbo was crossing the 2000 km line). It signal was previously reported by ru16 in the eastern coast USA ( It will be an incredilbe exercise to assit in real time to what will happen in the ocean with a tropical storm as Katia, that seems to have grown since his passing offshore the eastern USA coast, passing over silbo..

Figure 4.- Vertical profile of Temperature (RU16 and silbo).


Force and honor to all

Antonio Ramos & Nilsen Strandskov