No propeller, no oars, no sail, no rudder….YET navigating the Southern Ocean to send real-time oceanographic data back to South Africa

Welcome back 542 and 543! Seagliders 542 and 543 have successfully completed their four-month long missions in the Southern Ocean, and have been retrieved by S.A. Agulhas during CSIR’s Southern Ocean Seasonal Cycle Experiment (SOSCEx) cruise. 

They were the first two gliders to be refurbished and serviced in Africa, for redeployment. The servicing was undertaken by Sea Technology Services at the newly established CSIR Southern Ocean Engineering R&D Centre (SOERDC).

542 and 543 formed part of a fleet of five gliders deployed in support of the SOSCEx program. The gliders were piloted remotely from SOERDC in Cape Town and left at sea to transect the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) towards the Good Hope line, over a period of approximately four months, repeatedly diving to 1000m to collect oceanographic data to send ashore via satellite link.

S.A. Agulhas followed the gliders to cross-calibrate both shipboard and glider sensors and collect surface oceanographic and atmospheric data while the gliders continuously dived to 1000m to profile the water column.

These two gliders have built up a history of successful missions, off the South African coast and have now added the Southern Ocean to their areas of operation.

They will be refurbished and recalibrated at SOERDC and redeployed later this year.