THE SLOCUM GLIDER
Coupled Boundary Layers Air-Sea Transfer (CBLAST) participants recently deployed a network of autonomous gliding vehicles in the Atlantic Ocean south of Martha's Vineyard. This small fleet of Slocum gliders characterized the three-dimensional, time-dependent structure of the shelfbreak front in the Mid-Atlantic Bight, while simultaneously measuring physical and optical properties across the width of the continental shelf. The experiment is part of an ongoing effort to develop a flexible, cost-effective system of high-endurance autonomous vehicles for oceanographic research and exploration. This research will complement advances made during the recent Office of Naval Research (ONR) Coastal Mixing and Optics and Shelfbreak Primer experiments to provide new insight into temporal and spatial variability at the interface between coastal and blue-water environments. The three Slocum gliders in this experiment will be equipped with conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) and optical sensors. During the next year we will integrate a new phased-array Doppler velocity log/current profiler to enable bottom-referenced Slocum navigation and absolute water velocity measurement. Two more Slocum gliders have been proposed to provide complementary measurement capabilities in the ONR-CBLAST experiment. For more information about the Slocum glider and ongoing field efforts contact Dave Fratantoni.