Glider to explore relationship between oceans and weather
A little MAGIC will go a long way for scientists at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, who have unveiled the newest addition to their fleet of research equipment, the Teledyne Webb Research Glider.
The torpedo-like automated underwater vehicle is capable of travelling for 1,500 kilometres and diving to depths up to 1,000 metres.
The glider will provide BIOS researchers with a cost-effective method for observing, monitoring, and sampling, while measuring the ocean's physical, chemical, acoustical, and optical properties.
It represents the first member of the BIOS Mid-Atlantic Glider Initiative & Collaboration (MAGIC) lab, which BIOS said would help their scientists “gain new insights into the relationship between the oceans and weather”.
The versatile glider also brings with it the opportunity for collaboration, with Mark Guishard, programme manager at the Risk Prediction Initiative, expressing interest in using the glider to assist in “rapid response to approaching hurricanes, allowing scientists to make important measurements before, during, and after the storms pass.”
Furthering our understanding of the formation of hurricanes is crucial to predicting when hurricanes might hit, BIOS said in a statement.
Ruth Curry, adjunct scientist at BIOS, said the Bermuda platform offered the perfect opportunity to test the autonomous glider in deep, open-ocean conditions while being able to have land-based support systems nearby.
“By serving as a staging and testing site for gliders, we are essentially connecting with the research and design side of ocean technology. BIOS scientists are already working with Teledyne Webb and the University of Washington Deepglider programme, and we anticipate future collaborations with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Rutgers University, and the University of Maine,” said Ms Curry.
The glider has been the focus of attention at BIOS, with staff from Teledyne Webb Research teaching to scientists from around the world, as well as BIOS faculty and staff, how the glider is piloted, its operation and maintenance, deployment, mission planning, and recovery.
BIOS said the establishment of the MAGIC Lab was made possible by a grant from the Grayce B Kerr Fund of Easton, Maryland.