A revised ocean glider concept to realize Stommel's vision and supplement Argo floats
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionOcean Science. 2020, 16 (2), 291-305. 10.5194/os-16-291-2020
This paper revisits Stommel's vision for a global glider network and the Argo design specification. A concept of floats with wings, so-called slow underwater gliders, is explored. An analysis of the energy or power consumption shows that, by operating gliders with half the vehicle volume at half the speed compared to present gliders, the energy requirements for long-duration missions can be met with available battery capacities. Simulation experiments of slow gliders are conducted using the horizontal current fields from an eddy-permitting ocean reanalysis product. By employing a semi-Lagrangian, streamwise navigation whereby the glider steers at right angles to ocean currents, we show that the concept is feasible. The simulated glider tracks demonstrate the potential for efficient coverage of key oceanographic features and variability.