Expanding operational ocean-observing capabilities with gliders across the Macaronesia region

Carlos Barrera1, Tania Morales1, Rayco Moran1, Eduardo Caudet1, Rubén Marrero1, Andres Cianca1, Daniel Alcaraz1, Francisco Campuzano2, Carlos Fernandes3, Joao Tasso Borges de Sousa4, Maria Jose Rueda1 and Octavio Llinas1, (1)Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands, Telde, Spain, (2)Técnico Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, (3)Instituto Hidrografico, Oceanography Division, Lisboa, Portugal, (4)University of Porto, LSTS, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering (FEUP), Porto, Portugal
Despite technology advances addressed to ocean monitoring has been significantly improved during last two decades with new platforms, sensors and telemetry systems, there are still many unsolved gaps in terms of data quality, reliability, efficiency and sustainability. These gaps becomes particularly relevant in ocean regions like the Macaronesia, fitted by archipelagos located notably far away one to each other.

Ocean gliders offer a new approach in terms of capacity and sustainability, enable to perform observations in spatiotemporal scales hitherto unavailable. The present work shows preliminary results from the latest and most relevant glider missions conducted in the Macaronesia, where PLOCAN in partnership with OOM, MARUM and other partners from public and private sector. (1) A joint-initiative between Ocean Observatory of Madeira (OOM) and PLOCAN whose main goal focuses on strengthening glider endurance-lines between Madeira and the Canary Islands, as part of the global observation strategy conducted by the R3M. A buoyancy-driven glider was deployed Southwards Madeira Island aiming to cover the 250 nautical miles distance to Gran Canaria. Different physical and biological processes in both coastal and open-ocean areas were identified during the mission, highlighting outflows, eddy structures, water masses characterization, etc. The glider mission also covered the seasonal sampling at ESTOC site (European Station for Time-Series in the Ocean, Canary Islands), playing the role as deep-ocean node of the PLOCAN Integrated Observatory. (2) A six-week glider mission conducted between Gran Canaria and Madeira with a Wave Glider SV2 unit, suited with a dedicated payload sensor configuration that included a passive acoustic sensor in order to monitor marine mammals in the area. (3) A ten-week transect mission between Nazaré canyon and Madeira performed with a buoyancy-driven glider across several seamounts as part of the cooperation program with the Portuguese Hydrographic Institute (4) A transect mission performed between Ireland and Canary Islands, as part of the program Challenger One, in cooperation with Teledyne Marine. Described activities have been conducted under the framework of EU projects like iFADO, EUMarineRobots and AtlantOS, among others.