On November 16th-18th, AOML physical oceanographers partnered with the University of Puerto Rico to successfully recover two underwater gliders from the Caribbean Sea aboard the M/V La Sultana of the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez. Over the course of the summer, the gliders successfully transected a region in the eastern Caribbean providing approximately 3000 profile observations of temperature, salinity, oxygen, and surface as well as depth-average current velocities. The gliders were also on location during the passage of Tropical Storm Erika in August, gathering temperature measurements that are critical to understanding the ocean’s role in how storms form, evolve, and change in intensity. These data should also provide researchers with a better understanding of the ocean’s response to the passage of storms which, in turn, will improve ocean models used in hurricane forecasts.
The recovery involved a field team at sea retrieving and a pilot team at AOML steering the gliders to an area where they could be safely recovered. After recovery, the gliders will be brought to the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez in La Parguera where they will undergo a thorough refurbishment in preparation for their next deployment. Included in the refurbishment will be repairs to the body of one of the gliders after researchers found evidence of a shark encounter, including puncture wounds and an embedded shark tooth.
Photo credit: NOAA
- The glider retrieval team found a shark tooth embedded in the body of the glider. Image credit: NOAA
- The glider is secured after being brought aboard the R/V La Sultana. Image credit: NOAA
- An image of the successfully retrieved glider, including puncture marks from an encounter with a shark. Image credit: NOAA
- An image of the puncture marks the glider received from an encounter with a shark. Image credit: NOAA