NOAA Hurricane Underwater Gliders

NOAA/AOML's Physical Oceanography Division leads a multi-institutional effort that brings together the research and operational components within NOAA and the university community to implement and carry out sustained and targeted ocean observations from underwater gliders in the Caribbean Sea and tropical North Atlantic Ocean in support of hurricane studies and forecasts.

2019 Hurricane Season Deployments Coming Soon!

Preparations are currently underway for the deployment of underwater gliders in support of the 2019 NOAA Hurricane Field Program. During this year's deployment, 7-9 underwater gliders operated by NOAA/AOML will patrol critical ocean areas for hurricane intensification off Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas.

Goal

The goal of this work is to enhance our understanding of air-sea interaction processes during hurricane force wind events. In order to accomplish this goal, a pilot network of hurricane underwater gliders is implemented to:

  • Assess the impact of hurricane force winds on upper ocean density structure, and
  • Assess the impact of ocean profile data from underwater gliders in operational hurricane intensity forecasts

The NOAA Hurricane Underwater Glider Project and Operations

The NOAA Hurricane Gliders Project

2018 Hurricane Gliders Deployments and Operations



The genesis, path, and intensity of Atlantic Ocean hurricanes are linked to atmospheric and ocean conditions. During the last 20 years, the improvements of hurricane intensity forecasts, and in particular of rapid intensification, have lagged behind those of hurricane track forecasts. In general, when the appropriate atmospheric conditions (e.g. low wind shear or change of wind velocity with height are present, hurricanes have the potential to intensify when a suite of ocean conditions are also present. Studies have shown that the correct monitoring of ocean temperature and salinity in the upper hundred meters of the ocean improves hurricane intensity forecasts. For example, ocean features with high heat content and/or low salinity values may create conditions that are appropriate for hurricane intensification. The correct representation of these ocean features is key to improving hurricane intensification forecasts.

NOAA/AOML began a pilot project in 2014 that consisted of deploying underwater gliders to monitor upper ocean conditions in areas of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea where hurricanes are known to travel and intensify. This project included a partnership with the University of Miami and the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, where 2 to 4 gliders have been in operation every year since 2014. Initial results that use these glider observations have shown that these data can improve hurricane intensity forecasts within the NOAA operational forecast model (Dong et al, 2017).


Tracks of Cat. 1-5 cyclones (in grey) in a region of the Atlantic Warm Pool during 1993-2018, with circles indicating the location of their intensification. The background color is the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential (proportional to the upper ocean heat content).

During the 2019 hurricane season, NOAA is supporting work with the objective of deploying 15-20 hurricane gliders, which will include partnerships with IOOS (Integrated Ocean Observing System) Regional Associations (CARICOOS, MARACOOS, SECORA), the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) of the University of Miami, Rutgers University, University of Delaware, ANAMAR (Maritime Authority in the Dominican Republic), and Cape Eleuthera Institute (Bahamas). Specifically, the work that will be carried out this year by NOAA/AOML will provide approximately 3,000 temperature/salinity profile observations obtained along 7 to 9 predetermined transects in the Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic Ocean. These hurricane glider observations are now part of the NOAA Hurricane Research Division tropical Atlantic Hurricane Field Program.

For additional information about this project please contact Dr. Gustavo Goni.

Milestones

11/13/2018 - Missions 20, and 21 Ends Gliders SG610, and SG649 was successfully recovered in the tropical North Atlantic, marking the successful completion of the 2018 NOAA/AOML Hurricane Underwater Glider Operations.

11/12/2018 - Mission 18 Ends Glider SG630 was successfully recovered in the Caribbean Sea.

09/24/2018 - One NAVO gliders was successfully recovered in the tropical North Atlantic.

09/19/2018 - Mission 19 Ends Glider SG635 was successfully recovered in the Caribbean Sea. In addition, one NAVO gliders was also successfully recovered in the tropical North Atlantic.

09/06/2018 - Two NAVO gliders were successfully recovered in the tropical North Atlantic.

07/31/2018 - Mission 21 Start: Glider SG649 was deployed in the tropical North Atlantic in support of the 2018 NOAA/AOML Hurricane Underwater Glider Operations.

07/31/2018 - Mission 21 Start: Glider SG649 was deployed in the tropical North Atlantic in support of the 2018 NOAA/AOML Hurricane Underwater Glider Operations.

07/20/2018 - One NAVO glider was deployed in the tropical North Atlantic in support of the 2018 NOAA/AOML Hurricane Underwater Glider Operations. Another NAVO glider was recovered due to malfunction.

07/19/2018 - Mission 20 Start: Glider SG610, and two NAVO gliders were deployed in the tropical North Atlantic in support of the 2018 NOAA/AOML Hurricane Underwater Glider Operations.

07/17/2018 - Two NAVO Gliders were deployed in the tropical North Atlantic through a partnership between the U.S. Navy and AOML in support of the 2018 NOAA/AOML Hurricane Underwater Glider Operations.

07/16/2018 - Missions 18, 19 Start: Two gliders (SG630, and SG635) were deployed in the Caribbean Sea, marking the beginning of the 2018 NOAA/AOML Hurricane Underwater Glider Operations.

11/01/2017 - Missions 15, 16 and 17 Ends: The three gliders (SG610, SG630, and SG635) were successfully recovered marking the completion of the 2017 NOAA/AOML Hurricane Underwater Glider Deployment.

07/14/2017 - Missions 15, 16 and 17 Start: Three gliders (SG610, SG630, and SG635) were deployed in the Caribbean Sea and Tropical North Atlantic, marking the start of underwater glider missions in support of the 2017 Hurricane Field Observations Program

03/11/2017 - Missions 13 and 14 Completed: Two gliders (SG610 and SG630) were successfully recovered in the Caribbean Sea. Issues with the gliders caused a premature ending for these missions

03/07/2017 - Missions 13 and 14 Starts: Two gliders (SG610 and SG630) were deployed in the Caribbean Sea.

11/10/2016 - Missions 9, 10, 11 and 12 Completed: Two gliders (SG609 and SG630) were successfully recovered in the Caribbean Sea on November 10, 2016. The recovery marks the successful completion of AOML's fifth underwater glider mission during the 2016 Hurricane Season.

11/02/2016 - Gliders SG547 and SG610 recovered: Two gliders (SG547 and SG610) were successfully recovered in the North Atlantic on November 2d, 2016.

07/22/2016 - Missions 9, 10, 11 and 12 Starts: Two gliders (SG609 and SG630) were successfully deployed in the Caribbean Sea on June 21, 2016. The deployment marks the beginning of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season deployment. Two more gliders are expected to be deployed in the tropical North Atlantic as part of the Hurricane season operations. AOML-CARICOOS Underwater Gliders are officially part of the NOAA Hurricane Research Division tropical Atlantic Hurricane Field Program.

06/04/2016 - Missions 7 and 8 Completed: Mission successfully completed on June 2, 2016. Over 1,500 profile observations were collected in the Caribbean Sea during this mission.

03/11/2016 - Missions 7 and 8 Starts: Two gliders (SG609 and SG617) were in the Caribbean Sea on March 10, 2016. Gliders are expected to be recovered late May.

11/18/2015 - Underwater gliders recovered: Both underwater gliders, SG609 and SG10, were recovered on the Caribbean Sea and Tropical North Atlantic after the successful completion of the hurricane season underwater glider mission. During these missions, over 2,600 temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen profiles were collected.

08/11/2015 - Science highlight: In a recent manuscript by Domingues et al. (2015), observations collected by glider SG609 before, during, and after the passage of Hurricane Gonzalo (2014) were analyzed to improve our understanding of the upper ocean response to hurricane winds. this study is that salinity potentially played an important role on changes observed in the upper ocean; a near-surface barrier layer likely suppressed the hurricane-induced upper ocean cooling, leading to smaller than expected temperature changes. Additional details can be found here [pdf].

07/15/2015 - Hurricane Season Glider Missions starts: Two underwater gliders, SG609 and SG10, have been successfully deployed on the Caribbean Sea and Tropical North Atlantic, marking the start of the hurricane underwater glider mission (Missions 5 and 6). Near-real time location of the gliders and plots of latest observations can be found here.

04/27/2015 - Underwater gliders recovered: Both underwater gliders, SG609 and SG10, have been successfully recovered on the Caribbean Sea on April 27. This completes Missions 3 and 4 after the collection of over 2,000 (two thousand) temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen profiles.

02/06/2015 - Underwater gliders deployed: Both underwater gliders, SG609 and SG10, have been successfully deployed on the Caribbean Sea on February 6, marking the start of Missions 3 and 4. For these missions, a new sensor to measure dissolved oxygen concentration was installed on both gliders. Near-real time location of the gliders and plots of latest observations can be found here.

11/20/2014 - Underwater gliders recovered: Both underwater gliders, SG609 and SG10, have been successfully recovered on the North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea on November 18, and November 19, respectively. The recovery marks the completion of Missions 1 and 2, with over 2,800 temperature and salinity profiles collected.

07/20/2014 - Underwater gliders deployed: Two underwater gliders have been successfully deployed off from Puerto Rico, marking the start of Missions 1 and 2. The glider SG610 has been deployed in the Caribbean Sea on July 14, 2014, while the glider SG609 has been deployed on the North Atlantic Ocean on July 19, 2014. Near-real time location of the gliders and latest temperature and salinity observations can be found here.

03/25/2014 - 1st Underwater Gliders Working Group Meeting: The first project meeting took place at AOML on March 25, 2014. The meeting addressed operational components of the project. Basic instructions on the deployment and recovery strategies have been provided to project members during a sea trial on March 26, 2014.