Humpback the Seaglider is an old friend of us at UEA. She has been to the Gulf of Oman, the North Atlantic and helped study melting glaciers around the Antarctic – and now she has become the first glider to be successfully deployed in the Bay of Bengal.
Deployed shortly after dawn, Humpback was sent diving to 50 m at first to test the initial settings, then progressively deeper until it reached its maximum depth of 1000 m.
The temperature difference between the surface and 1 km beneath the waves is extreme. At the surface, the waters are like a heated swimming pool at around 29°C, while at 1000 m the water is more like the North Sea in winter, at a distinctly frigid 7°C.
The temperature difference between the surface and 1000 m, combined with the very fresh surface water, make for an enormous density difference, which the Seagliders have to overcome to sink to the depths and return to the surface. All of this, combined with monsoon winds and stormy conditions makes for a challenging deployment. However, our trusty Seagliders are perfectly designed for this kind of challenge. More to come…