Gliders monitor water currents, temperature, and conditions that reveal effects from storms, impacts on fisheries, and the quality of our water. This information creates a more complete picture of what is happening in the ocean, as well as trends scientists might be able to detect. The robots collect information from deep water, as well as at the surface, at lower cost and less risk than ever before. As scientists deploy more gliders, they are revolutionizing how we observe our ocean. These robots propel us closer to that revolution.
There are a number of different types of Gliders in use throughout the world’s oceans.
Gliders are one type of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle
The warming of our planet directly impacts ocean temperature and how the ocean transports heat. Scientists can draw conclusions about our climate as they learn more about ocean conditions. Gliders are assuming a prominent and growing role in ocean science due to their unique capabilities for collecting data in remote locations, safely and at relatively low cost.
Glider underwater flight profile
Plaque in Baiona, Spain, depicting Scarlet Night's journey from New Jersey to Spain
Scarlet Knight is an electric glider. That means it relied on battery power to do its work. But it didn’t use a lot. The robot crossed the ocean using the equivalent energy of about four Christmas tree lights. Scarlet Knight pumped water in through its nose to weigh itself down and dive into deeper water. To go back up, the glider pumped the water out again, causing it to weigh less and float toward the surface.
Program Update that shares the landing events of Scarlet Knight in Baiona, Spain, 8-9 December and reflect on the importance of this new technology:
Z-Gram, 12 December, 2009 (pdf)
Collectively U.S. IOOS regional and industry partners have flown over 15,000 glider days in the past three years. Examples include:
The National Glider Strategy Development Workshop will be held at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla, CA. This workshop is organized both to frame priority requirements for broader coordination and collaboration of glider operations and to draft an outline for a national strategy. At the close of the workshop, authors will be assigned sections of the outline with a goal of assembling a full draft prior to the Fall AGU Meeting.
Launch the Glider Asset Viewer and click on the asset symbols for additional information.
Development of a U.S. IOOS National Glider Strategy, draft (pdf) May, 2012
Regional Glider Operations 2008 - 2012 (Zoom in pdf)
Learn about Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction and Deputy Administrator for NOAA, and Zdenka Willis, Director of the U.S. IOOS Program Office, meeting with Rutgers University science students and their professors during an IOOS Regional member site visit.