Gliders are autonomous underwater vehicles. The NOC-Southampton has been using gliders to make novel measurements of the ocean since 2006. In April 2012 the Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems facility was estblished to operate the NOC fleet of gliders. See the latest news about our work with gliders here and live data here.
|Webb Research's Slocum Glider|
Gliders are typically able to 'fly' from the surface to 1000m depth and back to the surface, whilst travelling about 5km horizontally, in around 3 hours. Along their trajectory they measure pressure, temperature and conductivity, from which salinity can also be derived. Depth averaged and surface currents can be estimated from GPS fixes at the surface. Two-way communication via satellite provides an exciting opportunity to adapt the sampling strategy in response to the data acquired in real-time.
At NOC-Southampton gliders are primarily used to study the deep ocean. See the menu on the left for some details about our deep ocean projects. Currently NOC has four deep Slocum gliders. Our colleagues at NOC-Liverpool primarily use gliders in coastal regions and on the continental shelf. More information about their work can be found here.