On April 16, the science team on the PEACH project deployed an autonomous underwater glider called a Spray glider in the waters off Ocean City, Maryland. The glider will “fly” a transect south along the continental shelf to offshore of Cape Hatteras and back north again, all the while collecting valuable data on ocean temperature, salinity, depth, chlorophyll content and ocean current speeds.
The glider propels itself through buoyancy changes by pumping oil between bladders inside the hull of the glider and the outside tail section. The change in buoyancy from the oil transfer causes the glider to rise and fall in the water column, while the wings of the glider translate the vertical movement into forward motion with a maximum speed of 1/2 knot.
Surfacing after each dive, data is transferred back to the laboratory through Iridium satellite communications. Robert Todd, WHOI scientist in charge of the Spray glider missions, can then make course corrections and analyze data collected during the glider mission. The glider will fly back and forth along the continental shelf for a total of 110 days, before being picked up on the shelf off Oregon Inlet.
The efficiency of the glider allows for longer deployments that extend past the dates of the research cruise. The glider data collected off the continental shelf will compliment the measurements being made by many of the other instruments deployed on the shelf during the PEACH project. This combination of measurements will provide project scientists with a better overall picture of the exchange of water across to shelf and out into deep ocean water.
Glider data from the project can be viewed at the following link:
To view data from a glider mission from Miami north , click on the following link: