A patchwork ocean

By Stefan Gary

Yesterday’s blog mentioned that the glider Eltanin had been trapped in an ocean eddy. Ocean waters can vary dramatically from place to place and eddies are evidence of the mixing between waters. The result of these eddies is an ever-changing patchwork ocean, an example of which is shown in the image below. The outlines of Ireland and Scotland are in the lower right corner and the glider recovery location is marked by the black circle.

The sea surface temperature map shown here is supplied to us thanks to the NERC Earth Observation Data Acquisition and Analysis Service (NEODAAS). This map, constructed from near-real time observations, helps us understand the large-scale ocean conditions surrounding us while we are at sea.

We are currently just south of Iceland and have successfully completed 4 full-depth casts for collecting water samples and data from sensors. Conditions are good and we’re making good progress. Unfortunately, it wasn’t clear enough to catch sight of Iceland despite the fact that our mobile phones caught signal!

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