Gliders -4 Glider Data

Gliders -4 Glider Data

I’m McKensie Daugherty, your host for On the Ocean. Gliders are instrument systems capable of covering incredible distances of ocean, taking measurements throughout. But what kind of things do they measure? Scientists have many questions about the composition of the ocean, and how that relates to oceanic and biological phenomena. As such, the gliders are formatted with a suite of instruments to take different kinds of measurements for the scientists needs. These measurements include data about temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen concentration, chlorophyll, and dissolved organic carbon. The gliders can also be outfitted to gather data about nutrients (like nitrate), hydrocarbons (like oil and gas products), carbon dioxide, and sound. This information helps scientists make connections between what the ocean is made up of, how it reacts to change, and conclude whether it was caused by human impacts or natural variability. With this information, they can begin to assess ways in which to reduce this pollution. Deploying gliders each year can create a time series of this data, so researchers can monitor improvements recognize recovery systems that work best. Scientists at Texas A&M University use this data to understand oceanic phenomena such as hurricane intensification, oil spill movement, harmful algal blooms, hypoxia (which is little to no oxygen in the water), and other processes that can affect people’s lives. By studying these events, and the correlated factors that are unique to them, oceanographers can begin to use this information to make predictions and conclusions to help coastal and oceanic efforts. Overall Gliders provide incredible, multivariate data that can help answer many questions researchers have about the ocean. If you encounter a glider, remember not to approach it, it’s on a very important mission. 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 -3 Open Ocean Gliders

Gliders -3 Open ocean Gliders

I’m McKensie Daugherty, your host for On the Ocean. As we’ve discussed in previous weeks, gliders are incredible powerful instrument systems that allow oceanographers to probe the ocean remotely for long periods of time and covering long distances. But sometimes, as with many scientific instruments, there are some problems scientists have to solve. Gliders move across the open ocean, meaning they are subject to a harsh environment, one with many potential dangers to their mission. Gliders use passive motion, meaning they do not usually use any motorized power to move through the ocean. So, when the direction the ocean is flowing changes, the glider has to move along with it, and large changes can potentially throw it far off course. In fact, this can lead to a glider washing ashore in incorrect places. In an effort to keep this from happening, gliders can be formatted with a propeller that uses battery power to help escape from a strong current. Since the battery life determines the length of the mission, using the propeller is a last resort option. Correct ballasting of the glider is critically important to its ability to function. Ballast measurements before deployment are set to the salinity that is expected at the mission sites. However, if that salinity somehow changes, perhaps due to freshwater runoff from a river, the glider may have difficulty coming to the surface. Another problem scientists had to get creative to solve is the animals living in the open ocean. Remoras are fishes that follow large cruising animals in the ocean by attaching to them. When they sucker on to gliders they affect the weight of glider, making them heavy and unable to move correctly. A nylon mesh stocking was created to fit over the glider, discouraging remoras from attaching. Although there are many potential problems from working in the open ocean, the scientists responsible for those instruments do their best to accommodate and get the most accurate and relevant data possible. 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 -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.

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

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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