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Pre Deployment Path Planning

In preparation for the deployment this evening, the piloting team has pulled together some assets to help things go as smoothly as possible.

The planned deployment location is approximately  3202.8833 11450.9667 and so the first two way points will be set to 3131.03344 1140.4334 and then 3117.8167 11055.7833

Red line: presumed deployment

Red line: presumed deployment

Yellow line: 110deg East

Yellow line: 110deg East

Finally here we have the ship traffic density plot for the area:

shiptraffic

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Challenger Indian Ocean Under way

Just after 9pm tonight, the crew in Australia deployed Challenger to kick off the circumnavigation of the Indian Ocean.

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Over the weekend the plan is make our way towards open waters, snaking through the canyon and out to sea following the list of way points highlighted above.

 

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The Re-christening of RU29

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The lab in Australia had a number of esteemed visitors today to see RU29 off before she began her circumnavigation of the Indian ocean.  For good luck, the group re-christened the glider Challenger (RU29) with Indian Ocean water at the University of Western Australia’s glider port before deployment on its first leg of a planned Indian Ocean circumnavigation. L to R: Chip Haldeman, Rutgers glider pilot; Nick D’Adamo, Head – Perth Programme Office of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and IOC IIOE-2 Coordinator; Scott Glenn, Rutgers Professor; Charitha Pattiaratchi, University of Western Australia Professor; Dr. Christopher Back, Liberal Senator for Western Australia and Chair, Senate Foreign Affairs, Defense & Trade Legislation Committee; and Dennis Stanley, UWA Glider Pilot.  On board the glider are flags from participating nations, including the United States, Australia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Spain, Germany, Brazil and South Africa, plus a challenge coin from NOAA Administrator, Dr. Kathryn Sullivan.

The deployment which was originally scheduled for tonight has been delayed until Friday evening

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Prepwork In Perth

On Monday (Eastern)/Tuesday (Australia), Scott Glenn and Chip Haldeman arrived in Perth Australia for a long week of prep work for Challenger’s next mission: to circumnavigate the Indian Ocean.  The plan is to take 29 and fly from Perth to Sri Lanka passing by Indonesia; Then Sri Lanka to South Africa passing by Reunion Island; and then making the return trip from South Africa to Perth over the next few years.

29io

Throughout the week, Chip and Scott will work with KK and Dennis to make final adjustments on ballast before the planned deployment Thursday evening

KK and Dennis in front of their new data display wall

KK and Dennis in front of their new data display wall

Chip Installs the new thruster on RU29

Chip Installs the new thruster on RU29

The flags of each nation involved with the mission are stored inside of the glider for the duration of the flight

The flags of each nation involved with the mission are stored inside of the glider for the duration of the flight

An official NOAA Challenger Coin given to the Challenger Mission by Dr. Kathryn Sullivan is also mounted on the inside of the glider

An official NOAA Challenger Coin given to the Challenger Mission by Dr. Kathryn Sullivan is also mounted on the inside of the glider

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500 km

Now just 500km from the United Kingdom’s EEZ, Silbo is back to making good progress covering roughly 30 km/day.  A few days ago, we flew through a couple of small eddies that slowed progress a little bit but didn’t bump us too off course.

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As we make our way closer to the shelf, the way point currently set at 47˚ 15N, 14˚ 45W has us lined up nicely to ride the edge of the eddy system towards our goal

Copernicus Oct 27

Copernicus Oct 27

Over the next few weeks, we will then move the way point to get us around the southern edge of the large eddy and close in on the EEZ around the end of november.  From there, we will then turn on the thruster to move the glider up the shallow shelf on the way to recovery.

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Entering the IBI

Now that Silbo is back in to the favorable currents, the glider has really picked up speed and is once again making good progress towards Europe.   With the way point set yesterday, the glider is cruising along the jet created by the system of eddies that are showing up across all of the models despite being on different levels of structure.

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Copernicus Oct 18

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Oscar Oct 18

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HYCOM Oct 18

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RTOFS Oct 18

Also over the past few days, Silbo has entered the domain of the Iberian Biscaine and Irish Regional Ocean Model.  This ROM data is fundamentally a high definition version of the Copernicus model output provided to us by our friends Enrique and Marcos from Puertos del Estado who have helped us on both the RU17 and RU27 missions from 2008 and 2009.  We plan on using this HD data to plug into Antonio’s lagrangian visualization so we can see the landscape with an hourly 3km*3km dataset as we close in on the recovery region.

resuming-5

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Back up to speed

After finishing the thruster tests last week and setting the new way point to 47˚, 20˚ , Silbo finally caught a break in the current and picked speed back up.  Through the weekend we started to see numbers again up in the 30 km/day; speeds we havent seen in months!

silbo1017

This afternoon the way point was then pushed further to the south east to 47N, 18W to cut between the cold eddy to the north and the warm eddy to the south east.

As for challenger, on friday the glider was scheduled to leave the states and fly to Australia where it will then be placed on a truck to perth.  Early next month the glider is then slated to be deployed in the eastern Indian ocean  and set forth on its next circumnavigation around the Indian Ocean.

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Persistant Westward Currents

As Silbo continues to try and make his way towards the UK, the westward current that has provided resistance to his progress over the past month continues.

silbo1010

Despite making some progress to the north, eastward progress continues to be slow.  Looking to the models, we are in an area of uncertainty where each of the models shows a cold core signal, but the exactly location varies output to output.

Copernicus 10/10/2016

Copernicus 10/10/2016

HYCOM 10/10/2016

HYCOM 10/10/2016

OSCAR 10/7/2016

OSCAR 10/7/2016

RTOFS 10/10/2016

RTOFS 10/10/2016

 

In other news, on friday RU29 left Rutgers after final checkouts to be shipped to Australia in preparation for its next mission: to circumnavigate the Indian Ocean

Southern Jet

For the past week now, Silbo has been dragged into a very strong current flowing to the south east that has really slowed us down.  The way point was moved further to the east to try and fly perpendicular to the flow in an attempt to cut accross to the other side, however progress has been slow.

silbosept13

In the plot below, we can see the speed dropping off starting last week and we have our fingers crossed that this will turn arond again soon.

silbo_speed_sept

In other news, Silbo is closing in on 1000km from the United Kingdoms Exclusive Economic Zone.  Once there, the glider will make a hard turn to the north as the thrusters push us along the shallow shelf towards Flamouth, UK.

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5 months at sea

silbo5months

Its hard to believe, but Silbo has been at sea now for 5 months, weaving his way through the Gulf Stream and resulting eddy field.  With more than 4800km in the books, Silbo is nearing the doorstep of the eastern shores of the Atlantic Basin.  Silbo is now just 740km from the Irelands EEZ, 760km from the shelf break, and 1300km from the recovery port of Falmouth, England.

silbo5monthszoom

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