Scripps, APL-UW Select Wave Gliders for New Ocean Study

Illustration, Photo: Liquid Robotics

Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Scripps) and the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington (APL-UW) have selected Wave Gliders to conduct advanced scientific research in the remote regions of the Arctic and Southern Oceans.

Using Liquid Robotics’ Wave Gliders scientists will obtain real time data and rare insights into the dynamic conditions that drive the world’s weather and climate. This data is critical for scientists to understand and improve global ocean weather modeling and climate prediction.

The oceanographers leading the missions are Dr. Eric Terrill and Dr. Sophia Merrifield – Coastal Observing Research and Development Center (CORDC), Scripps; Dr. Ken Melville and his team at the Air-Sea Interaction Laboratory, Scripps; and Dr. Jim Thomson and his team in the Stratified Ocean Dynamics of the Arctic (SODA) program at the APL-UW.

Each team will integrate oceanographic and atmospheric sensors onto the Wave Gliders to measure extreme wave states, winds, temperature, and salinity in the upper layers of the ocean.

The reliability of the platform, modular payloads, and proven navigation capabilities led to our decision to select the Wave Glider for our upcoming science program,” said Dr. Eric Terrill, director of the Coastal Observing R&D Center at Scripps. “Tackling at-sea science questions has plenty of challenges and we needed a platform we could trust and adapt. The modularity allows us to deploy our own sensors and adapt autonomy algorithms so that the vehicle will optimally sample the ocean.”

In 2016, we successfully completed a 3 month, 2000 km mission in the Southern Ocean where the Wave Glider performed through 6m high waves, extreme winds, and swam through the world’s largest ocean current, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current,” said Dr. Jim Thomson, senior principal oceanographer at The APL-UW. “The data collected provided unprecedented temporal and spatial coverage and I have great confidence our upcoming Arctic mission in the Beaufort Sea, part of the Stratified Ocean Dynamics of the Arctic, will again provide valuable insights.”

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