Featured News

Tracking a Record Number of Gliders

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Posted: October 22, 2021
Category: Featured News , Researchers

We’re excited to report that the GCOOS Glider Dashboard is tracking a record 11 gliders in the Gulf and Atlantic. Most of the gliders are deployed as part of the hurricane picket line, at sea during hurricane season to collect in-situ data within Loop Current eddy features offshore of the Mississippi River and on the continental shelf to provide ocean data ahead of any storms. Tropical cyclone interaction with the Loop Current System has been linked to rapid storm intensification due to high upper ocean heat content — so tracking temperatures at the surface an at depth is crucial for predicting the strength of storms.

GCOOS-TAMU Oceanographer Dr. Kerry Whilden is piloting six gliders in the Gulf; most were deployed at the shelf break offshore of Freeport (about 100 miles off the coast). Once deployed, they fanned out in different directions to head toward their ultimate destinations. The gliders will collect data in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico west of the Loop Current. GCOOS Board Member Dr. Stephan Howden, University of Southern Mississippi, is piloting a seaglider off the West Florida Shelf and Dr. Catherine Edwards, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, is piloting three gliders in the Atlantic.

Mote Marine Laboratory is also piloting a glider near Florida’s west coast as part of its mission to track harmful algal blooms.

Whilden’s research assistant, Brian Buckingham, deployed five gliders during a single offshore mission on Sept. 28. “Definitely a record for us!” Whilden said.

  • Want to see what the gliders are turning up? Visit the Glider Dashboard, GANDALF, and follow along on their trajectories

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