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Spray Glider

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SPRAY MISSION ACROSS GULF STREAM - On September 11, 2004, researchers launched Spray Glider number 007 near a mooring called "Station W," located on the continental slope just south of Nantucket Island and just north of the Gulf Stream. The glider is expected to end the mission approximately 650 nautical miles later in Bermuda.

The yellow line shows of the mean path of the Gulf Stream. At any given time, the Gulf Stream meanders away from this mean path. Often these meanders form strong vortices that can be seen north and south of the Gulf Stream. As sailors in races to Bermuda are aware, it is a challenge to navigate through these vortices and meanders to reach Bermuda.

Red dots point to additional moorings that monitor the Gulf Stream.

The satellite "Jason" (replacing TOPEX/Poseidon) orbits the Earth and uses a radar altimeter to measure sea surface height, which researchers use to estimate the surface currents associated with the Gulf Stream. The purple line shows one of the ground tracks for these satellites. The Spray Glider's mission and the "Station W" mooring locations have been chosen so that they can be combined with satellite data to provide the maximum amount of information about the Gulf Stream.