Groundbreaking Study on Iceland’s Extreme Ocean Surface

Wave Glider

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego is collaborating with the Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) on a groundbreaking study of the extreme ocean surface conditions that characterize the waters off Iceland’s coast. New state-of-the-art instruments will measure waves, currents, atmospheric pressure and sea surface temperature. Already, an expendable buoy has reported seas in excess of 12 m (40 ft.) in its first week of operation in the chilly Icelandic waters.

Expendable drifters will be deployed by the Icelandic Coast Guard during normal patrols and training. In addition, two Liquid Robotics Wave Gliders that harness the energy of surface waves to provide propulsion will be operated during the pilot phase of the study to measure wind and ocean response to the weather.

The measurement network of buoys and gliders will improve the scientific understanding of the coupling across the air-sea interface, a critical component for ocean, atmosphere and climate research.  The study also provides ocean condition situational awareness to the ICG and will improve the ocean forecast models for patrol planning. Direct measurements of ocean currents can also greatly improve the effectiveness of search and rescue missions.

Caption: The crew of Icelandic Coast Guard survey vessel Baldur deploys a Wave Glider for measuring winds, February 22, 2017.

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