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Current measurements from autonomous underwater gliders

Merckelbach, L.M.; Briggs, R.D.; Smeed, D.A.; Griffiths, G.. 2008 Current measurements from autonomous underwater gliders. In: Current Measurement Technology, 2008. IEEE/OES 9th Working Conference on Current Measurement Technology. Richardson, USA, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 61-67.

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Abstract/Summary

We consider the potential for making current measurements from gliders, and present data from a deployment in early 2007 of 1000 m Slocum electric gliders in the North West Mediterranean Sea. Three types of current measurement are considered. First, by comparing the difference between successive GPS positions, obtained when the glider surfaces, and dead-reckoned displacements when the glider is submerged, it is possible to estimate depth averaged horizontal currents and also surface drift. Second, our gliders were equipped with Conductivity Temperature Depth sensors, which provided data used to calculate geostrophic horizontal velocity. Third, from the measured rate of change of pressure it is possible to quantify the vertical water velocity as the difference between the measurement and the expected vertical motion. The latter two both require a model of the glider motion, which we outline. Horizontal currents of the order of 30 cm/s were measured in the westward flowing Northern Current off the south coast of France, with a width and transport comparable with previous observations using different technologies. The accuracy of the depth-averaged currents in magnitude and direction was limited by the accuracy of the measured heading of the glider. Measurements of vertical velocity were made during a time of active convection when the magnitude of the vertical motion was up to 10 cm/s. We estimate that the accuracy of the calculated velocity was of the order of 1 cm/s.

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1109/CCM.2008.4480845
ISBN: 9781424414857
Date made live: 18 Jul 2008 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/154740

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