Autonomous Underwater Gliders

The Oceanography Center has won a grant from the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation to purchase and operate two autonomous underwater gliders over a period of 4 years (2008-2011). The vehicles are currently being built at the Seaglider Fabrication Center of the University of Washington (late-2007).

The proposed project will observe the eastern Levantine Basin of the Mediterranean Sea at a level of detail and accuracy never before achieved. To reach this target, it is necessary to utilize the most modern oceanographic platform available, the underwater vehicle known as a glider. With these relatively small and very efficient instruments, it is possible to collect many months of high resolution data from the upper 1000 m of the sea and cover thousands of kilometers on a single set of batteries. In this project, measurements will include temperature, salinity, currents, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, and turbidity. The measurements will complement the existing observing programs and numerical modeling of the Levantine Basin carried out by the Center.

View Glider Plots

Targets include:

  1. Accurate description and improved understanding of the general circulation and thermohaline structure of the Levantine Basin by continuously repeated transects.
  2. Detailed understanding of the mesoscale variability in the Levantine Basin and its relation with the biogeochemical variability of the region using detailed analysis and supplemental, coordinated glider transects.
  3. Strengthening of the skill in forecasting the ocean state by assimilation of glider data into existing European and regional ocean forecasting systems (including that of the Cyprus Oceanography Centre).
  4. Near real time availability of glider data via the Cyprus Oceanography Centre’s web site using the Iridium satellite telemetry system.

The knowledge concerning the physical and biogeochemical oceanographic processes and conditions in the Eastern Mediterranean will be multiplied many times. Indeed, the understanding of processes in any regional sea will be improved. The skill of forecasting systems to predict ocean conditions will be raised as will the availability and coverage of measurements, and as a result, end-users of such systems will benefit: oil spill models, tracer dispersion models, search and rescue operations, fishing enterprises, ecosystem managers. A relatively small expense to sustain, the gliders will continue to strengthen our observing and forecasting capabilities after the project.

Receipt and Transmission of Data