Aquatic drones, known as gliders, will soon surf the waves and dive into the deep from Nova Scotia to Georgia. The gliders will collect data during the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. By recording conditions in the middle of a storm the gliders will help oceanographers forecast storm intensity during future storm seasons.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Rutgers University and their partners will release 12 to 16 gliders this month. The diving drones will stay at sea for three to eight weeks. While collecting data on sea conditions during storms, the research robots will also monitor aquatic animal migrations.
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Internet users can follow the travels of the autonomous, robotic sea craft. NOAA's National Underwater Glider Network Map provides interactive information about current and past glider missions.
The torpedo-shaped gliders collect data for longer periods of time and at lower cost than manned scientific missions. The NOAA's U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System coordinates glider missions around the globe.
IMAGE: Slocum-style glider (National Data Buoy Center, NOAA)