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Guest lecture: Underwater gliders and the “new” ocean observing paradigm

Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022 at 1:00 pm 2:00 pm

IARC is hosting Dan Hayes, a physical oceanographer from Cyprus Subsea, for a seminar titled, “Underwater gliders and the “new” ocean observing paradigm.” Hayes is experienced in autonomous platforms and operational oceanography to establish glider infrastructure for science and industry. He has a long history of managing research and commercial contracts.

Talk abstract:

The scientific investigation of the ocean began with ship-based measurements, which are sparse in time and space, as well as biased for periods and regions that are more accessible because of distance or weather. Fixed stations have improved our knowledge of oceanographic processes at key locations. The satellite era has provided a paradigm shift in our knowledge of surface processes and underlying dynamics over very large spatial scales and near synoptic temporal scales. More recently, profiling floats have extended that paradigm into great depths over the open ocean basins, providing insights to global heat content and thermohaline circulation patterns. So what’s left? Autonomous Underwater Ocean Gliders represent the next paradigm because they allow the same multi-dimensional view of ships and floats, but with the ability to be steered through specific regions of interest, that may not be easily occupied by other means (boundary currents, hurricanes, active deep water formation sites, under ice, and/or remote locations). They can be operated in a virtual mooring mode for more temporal resolution or make high spatial resolution studies. Used in groups or in coordination with ships, moorings, and with reference to remote sensing and computational models, they allow a new regime of sampling and at a cost that is small relative to the amount of data collected. As sensors and processors become smaller and more efficient, new dimensions to the ocean observing will be added. Of course, there are limitations: the amount of power and space for sensors, the depth range, the maximum speed and limited connectivity all come into play when considering the use of gliders in a scientific experiment. Recent examples and future possibilities for how gliders can contribute to the Global Ocean Observing System will be presented. These will include echosounders, plankton/particle imaging, CO2, CH4, and passive acoustics.