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A Tethered Free-Fall Glider to Measure Ocean Turbulence

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  • 1 Ocean Sciences Division, Maritimes Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
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Abstract

A tethered free-fall microstructure glider, designed to make quasi-horizontal profiles of the ocean mixed layer, was tested at Emerald Bank on the Scotian Shelf in June 1996. The vehicle attained a 4:1 gliding ratio with the angle of attack close to 0°. The glider typically stabilized its pitch and roll within the first 10 s of each flight. The vehicle speed started at 0.55 m s−1 and decreased to 0.45 m s−1 over the period of a 300-s flight due in part to the increase in drag of the tether cable. Two profiles of microstructure obtained under moderate and very light wind conditions are presented to illustrate the performance of the glider from very near the surface to depth. These profiles demonstrate the advantages of the glider over vertical profilers in exploring the ocean mixed layer under various forcing conditions.

Corresponding author address: Dr. N. S. Oakey, Ocean Sciences Division, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, P.O. Box 1006, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4A2, Canada.

Email: oakeyn@mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Abstract

A tethered free-fall microstructure glider, designed to make quasi-horizontal profiles of the ocean mixed layer, was tested at Emerald Bank on the Scotian Shelf in June 1996. The vehicle attained a 4:1 gliding ratio with the angle of attack close to 0°. The glider typically stabilized its pitch and roll within the first 10 s of each flight. The vehicle speed started at 0.55 m s−1 and decreased to 0.45 m s−1 over the period of a 300-s flight due in part to the increase in drag of the tether cable. Two profiles of microstructure obtained under moderate and very light wind conditions are presented to illustrate the performance of the glider from very near the surface to depth. These profiles demonstrate the advantages of the glider over vertical profilers in exploring the ocean mixed layer under various forcing conditions.

Corresponding author address: Dr. N. S. Oakey, Ocean Sciences Division, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, P.O. Box 1006, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4A2, Canada.

Email: oakeyn@mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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