Liquid Robotics, a company specializing in providing data about ocean chemistry using wave-powered autonomous marine robots says that its G2 Wave Glider successfully survived a recent scientific mission despite being stuck directly in the path of Hurricane Isaac.
G2, the Wave Glider stationed in the Gulf of Mexico, was able to gather data and provide scientists with new insights into hurricane activity after going up against the rough conditions that were a result of recent Hurricane Isaac. While other vessels that were in Isaac's projected path sought to evacuate the area, G2 remained steady as it "stared down" the hurricane and subsequently managed to survive hurricane strength waves and weather to complete its mission, Liquid Robotics says.
The Wave Glider remained a scant sixty miles west of the eye of the storm and was successful in collecting data regarding water temperature, wind speeds, barometric pressure and air temperature.
According to time-lapsed maps of the area, G2 measured sustained winds of between 40 and 74 knots and measured significantly decreased barometric pressure that illustrated the storm's intensity. As a result of the data collected on water temperature, the marine robot was able to deduce Isaac was likely vacuuming in heat from the warm Gulf waters as it built in intensity.
"I grew up in Louisiana, so I have many friends and family [that were] affected by Isaac. I have firsthand experience with the serious impact of powerful storms like this since I lost family members to storms like Camille," Bill Vass, CEO of Liquid Robotics said in a statement. "We are proud to see our Wave Glider not only survive the category 1 hurricane, but also continue to communicate valuable real-time weather data as it battled 74 knot winds. Hopefully autonomous platforms like the Wave Glider will make it possible to better predict the severity and risk to everyone in the Gulf Coast area in the future."
In another venture aimed at assisting in hurricane-related weather predictions, Liquid Robotifs' second wave glider in the area around the southeast United States, Alex, is currently poised to collect storm data off the coast of Puerto Rico. Alex is part of a joint initiative with the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory and seeks to collect data both above and below the surface of the ocean. Liquid Robotics, which is funding the project, says that it hopes to provide storm data never before available to scientists with Alex.