Goals for the Atlantic Mission

  1. Undergraduate Education - Provide Rutgers undergraduate students and NSF RIOS summer interns, backed up by experienced personnel, the opportunity to build new systems to fly gliders and conduct experiments in extreme remote environments. The undergraduate training is multi-disciplinary, covers glider engineering, oceanography/meteorology, and history.  We have actively sought out freshman to work on this project, providing them the opportunity to go back to their high schools to talk about their experiences, and to graduate with considerable experience in an operational scientific ocean observatory.
  2. Demonstration of long-duration flight with shallow Slocum Gliders " Shallow Slocum gliders have traditionally been flown with Alkaline battery packs sufficient to support their coastal missions.  Can the same gliders be outfitted with more powerful Lithium batteries traditionally used by the deep gliders to enable a new class of long-duration gliders?
  3. Demonstrate the value of shallow gliders in global missions " Global research missions will require multiple platforms each with its own specialized capabilities. Shallow Slocum gliders provide capabilities that are complementary to the deep Argo floats.  Argo floats drift at depth (2000 m) and surface every 10 days to transmit a data profile to shore.  Slocum Gliders can be directed to acquire data in the atmospherically influenced surface layer more frequently, resolving the variations that occur on time scales of storms and on the spatial scales of the energetic front and eddy field.  We are especially interested in developing the capability to sample the freshening surface waters of the North Atlantic during the stormy winter in ways that compliment the Argo program.
  4. Glider engineering tests. New components are being tested and improved based on this flight.  Most notable are the new Lithium batteries for Slocum Gliders that are being tested for their ability to accommodate new high power sensors to support NOAA missions as part of a National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP) project.  The flight tests of the stretch payload bay provide information for the design on the Office of Naval Research Hurricane Hunter Glider currently being constructed with Oregon State University. Several new robust glider designs, including the new Digifin, are getting their most demanding test to date to provide the operational Navy with hardened, reliable gliders.
  5. Glider engineering tests. New components are being tested and improved based on this flight.  Most notable are the new Lithium batteries for Slocum Gliders that are being tested for their ability to accommodate new high power sensors to support NOAA missions as part of a National Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP) project.  The flight tests of the stretch payload bay provide information for the design on the Office of Naval Research Hurricane Hunter Glider currently being constructed with Oregon State University. Several new robust glider designs, including the new Digifin, are getting their most demanding test to date to provide the operational Navy with hardened, reliable gliders. We will also be testing a new teflon rubberized coating that has been applied to the glider in the hopes of preventing biofouling. In addition to the new coating we are also testing some new biofouling paints thanks to E-Paint.
  6. Validation of ocean forecast models.  The Navy is providing access to their North Atlantic model forecasts that we use for path planning. We provide feedback and assimilation data (horizontal current vectors and vertical CTD casts) from the glider.
  7. Building an international community.  The response to this glider flight from Global Earth Observing System participants in Europe is very positive, providing a magnet for collaboration.  International student exchanges are envisioned. We have continued building our partnerships with groups in the Azores Islands, Norway, Puerto Rico, and the Canary Islands.
  8. Preparing the landing zone.  Scarlet Knight is flying from the developing U.S. HF Radar network to the developing Spanish HF Radar network.   International working groups for HF Radar have been developed to share experiences between the groups leading these efforts. Preparation for a potential landing in Spain provides motivation.
  9. Expanding data sharing internationally. U.S. academic institutions regularly share high resolution direct broadcast data from their satellite receiving stations.  We are building new international partnerships to share satellite data for glider mission planning that will enable high resolution coverage over much of the Atlantic.  We are beginning to share more satellite altimetry products and model forecasts.
  10. Discovering the unknowns about basin-scale glider flights. What new factors do we need to account for when we design for sustained long duration flights in the North Atlantic.  We had not considered the need to design for potential Remora attachments until we encountered them in an eddy along the path that the sea turtles follow.  What else will we encounter that will enable us to continue these basin scale flights into the future at reduced risk. To answer some of these questions we have started working with OBIS - The Ocean Biogeographic Information System in order to identify what parts of the ocean yield high species densities.