Underwater glider observations of the ongoing El Niño

Daniel L Rudnick1, Breck Owens2, Shaun Johnston1 and Kristopher Karnauskas3, (1)Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, United States, (2)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA, United States, (3)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Geology & Geophysics, woods hole, MA, United States
We report on observations by underwater gliders in the equatorial current system along 93°W and 95°W between 2°S and 2°N starting in October 2013 and continuing through the present. The project Repeat Observations by Gliders in the Equatorial Region (ROGER) was conceived with the intention of using underwater gliders to make repeat sections across equatorial system to quantify the location and strength of the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) and the equatorial front. ROGER serendipitously started near the beginning of a series of events that have led to the El Niño currently ongoing. We use Spray underwater gliders equipped with CTDs and ADCPs to measure pressure, temperature, salinity, velocity and chlorophyll fluorescence in a series of deployments from the Galapagos Islands. At the time of writing of this abstract, we have completed 15 glider missions, with 3 currently underway. Gliders have completed 7300 dives to as deep as 1000 m, traveling 27,000 km in 1600 glider-days. To our knowledge, this is the most extensive glider data set ever collected in the equatorial current system. With 6-km horizontal spacing between profiles, these more than 30 sections across the equator allow a finely-resolved look at the passage of Kelvin waves that establish El Niño. The Kelvin waves are manifest as deepening of the thermocline, warming of the surface, strengthening of the EUC, and northward migration of the equatorial front. We will present an up-to-date account of the continuing glider observations of El Niño.