Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lucky Lady heads out to Sea

RU Operations Group led by Josh Kohut took both vans loaded with 4 gliders and parts for 3 codars and headed up to UMass Dartmouth Sunday night. On Monday they spent the day test flying the gliders in the UMass test tank with Wendell Brown. The tank is huge - about 2 stories tall. We where able to get full undulations of the glider in the tank. The picture shows a view from one of the windows on the side as the glider leaves both the the surface and its reflection behind. Wendell Brown brought his class in to view the glider, and the week long celebration began. Speaches were given, and the traditional exchange of baseball caps took place. After everyone left for the day, the UMass folks let us continue working into the night - we did not want to leave such a great facility.

This morning the UMass vessel the Lucky Lady left the dock at 6:30 am with Josh Graver,
Chip, and a REMUS person from Lou Goodman's lab. They are heading south into the weather, and should be onsite for deployment about 9 am.
Below are two satellite images showing the general conditions we should encounter. First one is a composite average sea surface temperature for March based on several years of data from the COOLroom. The Gulf Stream is red, the slope sea is green, and the shelf water is blue.
Too bad the ocean is not as simple as this average diagram depicts.
This satellite image is the average March ocean color from several years of NASA SeaWiFS data. The reds are related to high phytoplankton concentrations, and the blues and purples mean very clear water. Now we see some interesting average features in the shelf sea. In the bays along the NJ Coast, and in the shallows south of Cape Cod and on Georges bank, we see a lot of reds, meaning high phytoplankton concentrations.
Our initial glider track is to head approximately due south from Martha's vineyard in the clear blue water. On the way down as we get used to flying in the area, we'll use the real time ocean color imagery from the COOLroom to decide if we can divert to the east and fly across the plankton front a few times on the way south for Oscar's MURI project.
But we can't stay too long. We are meeting up with Eric Powell's fisheries cruise in the Hudson Canyon area during the last week of March. After that, we'll contine south on the outer shelf a bit and head in to join Josh Kohut's NSF Mid-Shelf Front experiment with Dave Ulman from URI. So we have plenty to do on this first alongshelf run.

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