Tag Archives: RV Meteor

Gliders Recovery with a Rescue Parachute

One of our gliders in the rescue parachute. Photo: Julia Wenzel.

We returned where we investigated an eddy last week to recover our two gliders that have been collecting data since then. Because of the strong winds, low visibility, and high waves, we could not use the Zodiac to recover the gliders this time. Thus, a “rescue parachute”, originally designed to rescue a person that would have fallen off the vessel, has been used for the gliders’ recovery.

Mooring Deployment at Station K1

Everyone is helping with the deployment of the mooring K1.

This week, we recovered, serviced, and redeployed the last mooring of our cruise, the K1 mooring. This mooring measured continuously temperature and salinity in the central Labrador Sea since the early 1990s. More recently, oxygen sensors have been added to the uppermost part of the mooring. Measuring oxygen in the central Labrador Sea is quite interesting as the deep convection there results in intense oxygen uptake.

The K1 mooring was also the most complex mooring that we had to deploy as it has a large surface buoy with an instrument to transmit its datasets in near real-time to a global database by satellites. Near real-time datasets greatly improve the accuracy of weather forecasts and ocean analysis as they are assimilated into weather models.

Argo Float Recovery Near Greenland – RV Meteor

You may find this blog post also on oceanblogs. Follow Meteor’s position in real time!

Left: Félix, Elizabeth, and Pia looking for the Argo float with binoculars. Right: The crew recovering the float.

Over the past 20 years, Argo floats have caused a small revolution in the field of observational oceanography as they provide near real-time measurements of the ocean subsurface, which have greatly improved our weather forecast and ocean analysis. Currently, there are ~4,000 floats sampling the oceans year-round.

These floats are autonomous underwater profilers, which means that they are programmed to take measurements as they go down and up the water column by themselves and transmit their data to satellites when they reach the surface. Usually, the Argo floats are not recovered once deployed in the ocean. However, we did recover one of these floats today at the request of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) because it is a quite expensive float model, and its carbon dioxide (CO2) sensor was defective. (Look up the different models of floats – The more sensors they have and deeper they can get, the more expensive a float is.)

To recover the Argo float, we first had to locate it in the ocean, which is not so easy to do even having its exact coordinates; The float was only a tiny greyish dot hardly visible between two waves and in the fog. After we had visual contact with the float, the crew further approached the vessel from the float and recovered it.