Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 5:50 EDT
Underwater Gliders for Ocean Climate Observations Image 2
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Underwater Gliders for Ocean Climate Observations (Image 2)

June 22, 2010
Underwater Gliders for Ocean Climate Observations (Image 2) The Seaglider, a long-range autonomous underwater vehicle on the sea surface of Port Susan, Wash., during a test deployment. Seagliders send data and receive commands via satellite, as well as acquire GPS fixes in this position. The temperature, salinity and oxygen sensors are visible atop the (pink) low-drag fairing between the (black) wings. The specific mission in these images was supported by the Office of Naval Research, although the development and fabrication of the equipment shown was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant OCE 99-11037. (Date of Image: July 29, 2003) [One of three related images. See Next Image.] More about this Image Owned by the University of Washington, Seaglider is one of several autonomous undersea vehicles that enable oceanographers to measure hydrographic, chemical and biological indicators on long sections across the oceans. They relay data ashore within hours of collection and can be controlled globally via the internet. Seaglider is one of three gliders currently in operation and available for purchase; the other two are owned by Scripps and Woods Hole. Seagliders are small (about 50 kilograms) and can easily be handled by 2 people, making them ideal to take onboard vessels for research out at sea. Underwater gliders are buoyancy-powered and glide slowly (~0.5 kilometers) along saw-tooth path trajectories through the ocean. They trade speed for range and endurance: halving speed doubles range and quadruples endurance, a result of the quadratic drag law.