Global Ocean Observations

NOAA/AOML - CARICOOS Hurricane Underwater Gliders

What is an underwater glider?

An underwater glider is an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that uses small changes in buoyancy together with wings to propel itself by converting vertical motion into horizontal motion. Thanks to a very small consumption of energy, underwater gliders have longer ranges when compared to other AUVs, being able to measure several ocean parameters during a period of weeks or months along thousands of kilometers. Gliders use different sensors to measure ocean temperature and salinity profiles. Depending on the instruments installed in the devise, they can also measure ocean currents, chlorophyll fluorescence, optical backscatter, and bottom depth among other parameters. Gliders are commanded remotely via satellite and data transmissions are performed in real-time.


What type of information is provided by underwater gliders?

Underwater gliders provide information about the properties of the seawater. All underwater gliders have the capability of measuring temperature, salinity, and pressure. Additional sensors may also be included, such as chlorophyll fluorometers, oxigen sensors, and ocean current profilers.

AOML Underwater gliders currently have sensors to monitor the following parameters:

  • Temperature
  • Salinity
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Chlorophyll Concentration
  • CDOM - Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter


How is the data transmitted?

After each dive, the vehicle surfaces to transmitt the data collected and receive commands via satellite telemetry. Data is obtained in near real time at the laboratory.


How to obtain the data?

Data collected by this project is transmitted in real-time into the Global Telecommunications Systems (GTS), and distributed through the project webpages, and through NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System Data Assembly Center (IOOS-DAC)