"We had some gliders recovered that had shark bites in the paint," said Josh Kohut, assistant professor of oceanography at Rutgers University.
Using these gliders, Kohut hopes to get a better picture of how the ocean works through continuous measurements and wider sampling. Though an individual glider can cost around $100,000, the expense is more than offset by how much information it can provide and how long it can function, especially when compared to an oceangoing research vessel, which can cost as much to operate for only a few days.
"The gliders complement the more traditional measures from a ship," Kohut said.
Researchers have developed sensor packages for gliders that can detect red tides, ocean acidity and water turbulence. This information can be used to predict and model weather as well as assess fish stocks and other wildlife, along with long-terms shifts in global climate. Eventually, Kohut said, he envisions swarms of these gliders silently observing the ocean, sipping electricity from the water and giving us a more complete picture of the oceans that soak the Earth.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500