Results of the first Wave Glider experiment in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea

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Giuseppe Aulicino *
Yuri Cotroneo
Teodosio Lacava
Giancanio Sileo
Giannetta Fusco
Ryan Carlon
Valeria Satriano
Nicola Pergola
Valerio Tramutoli
Giorgio Budillon
(*) Corresponding Author:
Giuseppe Aulicino |


A wave-propelled autonomous vehicle (Wave Glider) instrumented with a variety of oceanographic and meteorological sensors was launched from Gulf of Naples on the 12th of September 2012 for a two-week mission in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea. The main objective of the mission was a preliminary evaluation of the potential of commercial autonomous platforms to provide reliable measurements of sea surface parameters which can complement existing satellite based products moving from the local to the synoptic scale. To this aim Wave Glider measurements were compared to equivalent, or near-equivalent, satellite products achieved from MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) sensors onboard the EOS (Earth Observing System) satellite platforms and from AVISO (Archiving Validation and Interpretation of Satellite Oceanographic Data). Level-3 near real time and Level-4 reprocessed sea surface foundation temperature products provided by the CMEMS (Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service) were also included in this study as well as high resolution model output supplied by NEMO (Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean). The Wave Glider was equipped with sensors to measure temperature, salinity, currents, as well as Colored Dissolved Organic Matter (CDOM), turbidity and refined fuels fluorescence. The achieved results confirmed the emerging value of Wave Gliders in the framework of multiplatform monitoring systems of the ocean surface parameters. In particular, they showed that Wave Glider measurements captured the southern Tyrrhenian Sea major surface oceanographic features, including the coast to open sea haline gradient and the presence of a cyclone-anticyclone system in the southeastern sub-region. The Wave Glider also had the capability to monitor upper ocean currents at finer spatial and temporal scales than satellite altimetric observations and model outputs. Nonetheless, results stressed the existence of several limits in the combined use of satellite and Wave Glider observations and the necessity of further analyses concerning the monitoring of the ocean optical properties. In fact, Wave Glider and satellite-based products agree in terms of sea surface temperature and currents patterns, while bio-optical properties turned out to be less well correlated. No significant traces of refined fuels have been detected along the WG track.

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