Based on Wave Glider supported data acquisition operations in the Arctic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific Ocean, a framework and rationale for theacquisition of baseline acoustic, hydrocarbon seeps, vessel traffic, meteorological and oceanographic data is described. Applications for thistechnology are pre-exploration environmental baseline assessments, oil and gasoperations, and physical environmental data for facilities design. Fielddata examples of passive acoustic, fluorometry, AIS (vessel traffic) andmetocean data from prior offshore survey operations are provided, along withinterpretive assessments of the data. The significance of this approachis the emerging capability to remotely control these types of data acquisitionoperations with zero environmental impact, minimized HSE risk to personnel, anddecreased cost of operations. The Wave Glider introduces a newmethodology for regional baseline environmental data acquisition.
Since its introduction into offshore data acquisition operations in 2007, the Wave Glider has quickly become a well used tool by academic, government, and industrial users. In this paper we provide an introduction to theplatform, and examples of data from ocean missions performed to date. With the growing interest in Arctic industrial activities, the ability toconduct detailed, remotely operated data collection operations is increasinglyimportant to all stakeholders. Initial work with the Wave Glider AMVplatform indicates that it may provide a new tool in the Arctic dataacquisition toolkit.
The Wave Glider is an Autonomous Marine Vehicle with a unique propulsionsystem, the key to which is the direct conversion of kinetic energy from theparticle motion in ocean waves into forward thrust, which is used as propulsionfor the vehicle. The vehicle is also equipped with solar panels on thetopsides of the surface float, which provide power for the instrument payloadof the system. It should be noted that during summer operations there issufficient solar power for Wave Glider function, however during winter this isnot the case. Alternative strategies for expanded battery payload forlimited duration winter operations are under review.
The pacing item for the duration of extended field operations isbiofouling. In practice, due to the decreased rate of growth in theArctic Summer, this is not anticipated to be a limiting factor during longduration Arctic operations. Several months of continuous operation in theArctic are possible with the Wave Glider platform. At the time of thiswriting, there are currently four Wave Glider systems on a record settingtransit from the West Coast of the United States, two units transiting toSouthern Japan via Hawaii, and two units transiting to the East Coast ofAustralia. This trans-Pacific Ocean crossing illustrates the durabilityand persistence of these systems. Data from the sensors on these units ismade available to the public.