This profiling glider increases the value of data that is collected and provides the ability to direct the glider to areas of interest, rather than collect data from a single site near shore.
A new underwater robotic vehicle is collecting important data along the Gulf Coast today, thanks to a partnership among Shell Oil Company, the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, and NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center (NDBC). In July, scientists recently launched an iRobot seaglider approximately 24.1 kilometers east of Shell’s Auger platform, near Flower Garden Banks, in the Gulf of Mexico.
The iRobot seaglider collects data on temperature, salinity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, dissolved organic matter, pressure, turbidity, chlorophyll, and backscatter down to 1,000 meters in various parts of the northern Gulf of Mexico. NDBC pilots this glider and has collected more than 250 profiles of data. Although NDBC has piloted wave gliders in the past, this is the first profiling glider operated by NDBC.
NOAA and Shell signed an agreement in 2008 to work together in the Gulf of Mexico to provide consistent, high quality data for weather forecasters and the National Hurricane Center. This agreement included several tasks, such as hardening meteorological systems on oil production platforms, providing separate power sources, and creating satellite transmission capability to provide data during platform evacuations due to severe weather. This current effort with the glider emerged from the initial agreement.