Gliders -2 The life of a Glider

Gliders -2 The life of a Glider

I’m McKensie Daugherty, your host for On the Ocean. Gliders are an incredible tool that oceanographers use to study the composition of the ocean. These autonomous underwater vehicles are an integral part of research into what the ocean is made up of, and how that can change. So how does the process of using a glider work. It all begins with a need. Scientists identify the information they need to study the parts of the ocean they are interested in. They start with questions like, “Do I need to know how much dissolved Oxygen in the water? What is the temperature of the deep ocean?” and a whole suite of other variables that will give them the information to make conclusions about the ocean and its makeup. They reach out to state and federal agencies and organizations for funding, explaining what the gliders will do, and how this information will benefit people. Researchers then design the mission requirements for the glider for that deployment. The first and perhaps most important part of a deployment is the initial ballasting(which adjusts the initial weight of the glider). Ballasting is done to ensure that the vehicle ascends and descends properly. The gliders are ballasted according to how salty the water is in which they will be deployed. If ballasted incorrectly. A glider that is too light cannot sink, and a glider that is too heavy will not come back to the surface. The next pre-deployment measurement is the H-moment test, or the testing of the glider’s stability in the water. After this, the glider is loaded on to a small fishing boat and deployed into the ocean. From there, it will be operated remotely by satellite by glider pilots at Texas A&M University College station. When the glider’s mission is over, after at least 2 weeks, it is recovered from the open ocean. From there, the extensive data it collected will be taken and analyzed by the researchers involved in the project. The glider will then be prepared for its next mission, and deployed by the hard working crew, many of whom are veterans. This has been On the Ocean, a program made possible by the Department of Oceanography and a production of KAMU-FM on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. For more information and links, please go to ocean.tamu.edu and click On the Ocean.

 

More Information and Links:

Contributing Professor Dr. Steve DiMarco:

http://ocean.tamu.edu/people/faculty/dimarcosteve.html

Page for Gliders that gather Hypoxia data:

https://www.facebook.com/TamuGergGliders

Gliders -1 What is a Glider?

Gliders -1 What is a Glider?

I’m McKensie Daugherty, your host for On the Ocean. This month we will be talking about one of the instruments oceanographers use to gather critical data about the ocean and what’s happening inside of it, Gliders. A Glider is an underwater autonomous vehicle that uses buoyancy to move through the water column. Gliders are made of a carbon fiber material, and are usually bright yellow in color. At Texas A&M University, researchers use a Teledyne model known as Slocum (named after Joshua Slocum, the first man to single-handedly sail around the world). The Texas A&M fleet includes four gliders. Two gliders are shelf gliders, diving from a range of 0-200 meters, and are named Reveille and Howdy. The other 2 are deep gliders, diving to a depth of up to 1,000 meters, named Sverdrup and Stommel. The gliders move by the physics of buoyancy. They move up and down in a sinusoidal motion using a buoyancy pump to dive and ascend in the water column. The pump changes the position of a diaphragm in the glider, this changes the glider’s volume in the water. The change in volume results in a change in buoyancy and therefore the glider moves up or down. The duration of the mission depends on the type of battery used in the glider. Alkaline batteries provide around a month of energy, while lithium provides up to 3 months of energy for a mission. Gliders measure large amounts of oceanic parameters as they glide through the water column giving scientists a real-time look at the composition of the ocean at a given location and depth as they move from place to place. They are deployed for scientific research and should never be touched or tampered with. Always navigate around them, as they can cause serious damage to vessels. Gliders are an integral part of oceanic research, and we will discuss how they work, what they do, and some of the problems encountered when working with machines on the open ocean. This has been On the Ocean, a program made possible by the Department of Oceanography and a production of KAMU-FM on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. For more information and links, please go to ocean.tamu.edu and click On the Ocean.

TexasAM-2015Mihovil8715

Elizabeth Ramey ’16 and Allison Pace ’15 with Steve DiMarco onboard Texas A&M-Galveston’s RV Trident.

GERG_glider

GERG Glider in Northern Gulf of Mexico

 

More Information and Links:

Contributing Professor Dr. Steve DiMarco:

http://ocean.tamu.edu/people/faculty/dimarcosteve.html

Glider Facebook Page: (you can track the missions from here!)

https://www.facebook.com/TamuGergGliders

 

Surface Currents

I’m Jim Fiorendino, your host for On the Ocean.

As a part of the Texas A&M University Research Experience for Undergraduates Observing the Ocean program, student researcher Madeleine Neuhaus has been working under the direction of mentor Dr. Yige Zhang on understanding the formation of surface currents in the Pacific Ocean 5 to 15 million years before the present. Surface currents in the ocean are important as they absorb and release heat and carbon dioxide. The release of heat maintains the temperate climate of high-latitude countries such as England, and the absorption of carbon dioxide helps remove this gas from the atmosphere.

Researchers at Texas A&M are attempting to learn more about past ocean surface currents by analyzing sediment cores for single-celled organisms called foraminifera. By mapping the locations of these organisms in the past, it is possible to deduce how and when the surface currents in the Pacific Ocean formed. Understanding the formation of surface currents and climate in the past will help to improve models that predict future climate and surface currents on Earth.

Thank you for listening; this has been On the Ocean, a program made possible by the Department of Oceanography and a production of KAMU-FM on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. For more information and links, please go to ocean.tamu.edu and click On the Ocean.

 

 

Neuhaus_Surface_currents_figure

Figure 1. Global a) latent plus sensible heat flux (in W m-2, positive, atmosphere to ocean heat flux and b) CO2 flux (in mol m-2 year-1, positive, ocean to atmosphere) (Imawaki et al., 2013). Blue areas in a) indicate areas of heat loss from ocean to atmosphere and blue areas in b) indicate CO2 removal from the atmosphere.

Figure Reference:

Imawaki, S., Bower, A. S., Beal, L., and Qiu, B., 2013, Western Boundary Currents: International Geophysics, v. 103, p. 305-338.

Contributing Professor: Dr. Yige Zhang

Script Author: Madeleine Neuhaus

 

 

 

The Importance of Studying Sinkholes

This is Jim Fiorendino, your host for on the ocean.

Researchers at Texas A&M University are analyzing sediments archived in blue holes and sinkholes throughout the Caribbean. The information contained within these sediments can be used to reconstruct storm patterns, regional precipitation, land use, and environmental change going back thousands of years.

The populations of the Caribbean are highly vulnerable to storm activity and changes in rainfall. Tropical cyclones are the costliest and deadliest recurrent natural disaster within the Caribbean basin and many of the coastal communities and inhabitants of the small island nations within the basin are dependent upon precipitation for potable water. It is predicted that 80% of the global population will face a shortage of potable water in the coming century, and that warming seas will lead to more frequent and more powerful storms.

Storm induced overwash may destroy crops and infrastructure and poison ground water for months. Drought has lasting effects on agriculture and negatively impacts tourism (which is an important part of many Caribbean economies). Understanding what conditions existed in the past, and what the driving forces were behind those conditions can help forecast future scenarios and possibly mitigate some of the damage caused by drought and tropical cyclones today.

Reconstructions have revealed drought intervals lasting for centuries that afflicted much of the Caribbean, while more extreme short-term deviations occurred in specific areas motivated by local factors. Tropical cyclone genesis, intensity, and track also seem to adhere to broad patterns in which active intervals in one locality may indicate reduced activity in another. Parsing these relationships from the sedimentological archive allows for the contextualization of the conditions observed today.

Through understanding groundwater patterns, past regional precipitation variability and tropical cyclone activity, we can begin to predict future conditions. Long-term trends in precipitation and prevalence of storms are driven by larger climate systems that may influence drought, storm activity, or flooding elsewhere on the globe. While a sinkhole may be a localized geologic feature, the story archived within the sediments may have both global and future implications.

This has been On the Ocean, a program made possible by the Department of Oceanography and a production of KAMU-FM on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. For more information and links, please go to ocean.tamu.edu and click “On the Ocean”.

Script Authors: Richard Sullivan, Annie Tamalavage, Tyler Winkler, and Pete van Hengstum