National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Physical Oceanography Division

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Underwater Gliders Deployed for Atlantic Hurricane Season

AOML's fifth underwater glider mission began on July 21st with the successful deployment of two gliders in the Caribbean Sea south of Puerto Rico. A second pair of gliders was subsequently deployed in the Atlantic Ocean north of Puerto Rico on August 4th. During their 4-5 month mission, the gliders will gather upper-ocean profiles of temperature, salinity, oxygen, current velocity, turbidity, and chlorophyll to help improve tropical cyclone intensification and seasonal forecasts. They are each expected to navigate an estimated 4,000 km and transmit about 1,600 profiles of each parameter. Data gathered will be transmitted in real-time to the Global Telecommunications System and assimilated into numerical hurricane forecast models, as well as used for Atlantic hurricane studies. This latest mission supports the AOMLCariCOOS (Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System) Underwater Glider Operations project, funded by NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, AOML, and CariCOOS. Data from the gliders can be viewed by visiting

Sea gliders aboard the R/V La Sultana prior to their deployment.

The gliders enable researchers to study the thermal structure of the upper ocean in regions linked to the rapid intensification of tropical cyclones.