NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard USCGC Healy
August 7 – September 16, 2009
Mission: U.S.-Canada 2009 Arctic Seafloor Continental Shelf Survey
Location: Chukchi Sea, north of the arctic circle
Date: September 13, 2009
Weather Data from the Bridge
Latitude: 720 44’N
Longitude: 1560 59’W
Science and Technology Log
Buoys and Moorings And Gliders, Oh My!!!
Exploring the oceans has a lot in common with exploring space. NASA can send manned or unmanned missions into space. Sending manned vehicles into space is more complicated than launching a probe or a telescope. The same is true for exploring the Arctic Ocean. We can collect data on an icebreaker, manned with Coast Guard and science personnel or use instruments that can send back data remotely. On this mission, many instruments have been deployed to send back data about the conditions in the Arctic. These instruments continue to do their work after the crew and scientists from the Healy have moved on. Ice buoys, which float or freeze into ice floes, are one example. The HARP instruments (High-frequency Acoustic Recording Package), which sit on the sea floor, are another.
A United States Navy team, under the supervision of Navy Commander William Sommer, has launched a very interesting instrument from the Healy called the Seaglider. We have been tracking its movements since it was launched on August 8th. The Seaglider collects information about the salinity, temperature, and optical clarity of the ocean. The Navy is interested in how sound travels through the oceans and this glider is an important tool for doing just that.
What makes the Seaglider unique is that instead of just drifting, it can be driven. In fact, this instrument is directed via satellite from a computer lab in Mississippi! The glider moves up and down in the water column and like an air glider it uses this up and down motion to move forward. It has a GPS and a radio so that it can communicate its location. The Seaglider deployed from the Healy in August was picked up today.