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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 and click On the Ocean.


More Information and Links:

Contributing Professor Dr. Steve DiMarco:

Page for Gliders that gather Hypoxia data:

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