Among the instruments that are revolutionizing Oceanography worldwide are underwater gliders. The Millennium Institute of Oceanography is already using this technology in studies off the coast of Valparaiso between October 18 and November 3, which included a 350-kilometer journey.
A glider is able to measure temperature, salinity, oxygen, fluorescence (Chlorophyll) and photosynthetic radiation (light used by microalgae). In addition, sensors can be incorporated to measure nutrients and marine currents. You could also measure changes in density and turbulence in the water column with significantly higher resolution.
The particularity of submarine gliders is that they are operated remotely and are able to monitor the state of the sea in real time. Samuel Hormazábal, an associate researcher at IMO, points out the importance of this instrument: "It must be understood as an underwater vehicle. It is a platform which are attached sensors to make measurements in the water column, in real time. This platform is an autonomous, unmanned vehicle that is programmed through software. " In this way, it maintains a periodic communication through the satellite.
The main thing is the resolution of the information that can reach. Nadin Ramírez, a technical professional at the Millennium Institute of Oceanography, states that: "A glider navigating autonomously goes with its sensors on all the time and continuously measures. We are increasing the resolution of the measurement from a vessel in the order of several kilometers to centimeters. There is a remarkable difference. In addition, the cost is much lower than a vessel. "
One of the great achievements of underwater gliders is that measurements are reached even under adverse weather conditions. "You can attach sensors to measure nutrients, current, physical conditions. You can actually acquire information in a remote location, without incorporating such a large equipment. Simply send the glider, in addition delivers the information in real time, "said the researcher.
This type of technology is what is revolutionizing ocean observing systems worldwide. The first cruise associated with the IMO took place in the area in front Valparaíso. It was named STOV (Valparaíso oceanographic time series), which corresponds to a FONDECYT project of researchers associated with IMO Carmen Morales, Samuel Hormázabal and Óscar Pizarro. ____text in bold____