Predicting Ocean Conditions Video Transcript - 2 Minutes
Narration: Steve Ackleson, Office of Naval Research
Jones: Clayton Jones, Webb Research
Narration: In the waters off Martha's Vineyard, the Office of Naval Research is using unmanned and robotic systems to investigate how sediments on the ocean floor are moved around by currents and waves. Coastal storms often stir up sediments, creating a turbid layer of bottom water that can be difficult or impossible for Navy sensors and divers to see through.
Narration: The problem is not easy to study using traditional ship-based approaches, so Navy scientists are developing and employing robotic observation systems.
Narration: Some of these sampling systems are designed to monitor water column and ocean floor properties at fixed locations. The Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory, operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is connected with cables to laboratories onshore where scientists can control the sensors and study ocean conditions as they occur.
Narration: One advantage to this approach over ship-based studies is the ability of these robotic systems to operate during storms, when it would be too difficult or dangerous for scientists to work at sea.
Narration: Some of these robots are like small submarines that are able to move around under their own power.
Jones: Gliders are an AUV, an autonomous underwater vehicle, that are kind of unique in the AUV world in that most vehicles are driven by propellers, but gliders are actually using a buoyancy drive to create forward propulsion.
Jones: So I view these AUVs or autonomous underwater vehicles such as the ocean glider as a compliment to today's boats or other structures where they're enabling us to say, okay, there is a place of interest that we would like to go look at here. They are doing this border patrols or boundary patrols.
Narration: As these systems become more capable, they will provide future scientists with the tools to unlock secrets of how the ocean works and to understand processes that scientist today are only beginning to realize.
Narration: It is truly an exciting time to be an oceanographer.