The four TPOS Saildrones continue making their way to their main study area along the equator, near 140°W. This mission is part of a series of Saildrone missions to the tropical Pacific, focusing on how this new technology could best be used within the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS) to improve longterm weather forecasts.
- One Saildrone has broken off from the pack. It has been sent on a more direct route to the equator, in order to get there faster, and cross in a more favorable location for winds and currents.
- The other three Saildrones just completed a comparison around the TAO mooring at 9°N, 140°W. While each boat successfully sailed a box around the anchor location, the Gen4 boat was slower, and struggled a bit more to navigate. The two Gen5 boats, with their re-engineered wings, each made the box with no trouble. What a difference a generation makes! Watch a very short video of the drones sailing around the buoy on the mission blog.
- Dr. Zhang has made initial comparisons of the met sensors on the TAO buoy with each of the Saildrones. In the plots below, there is one panel per drone (SD-1005, SD-1029, SD-1030) for each parameter.
- The chance of El Nino developing is now forecast at 70 – 75% and the TPOS Saildrones are positioning to make measurements right in the midst of it.
- Three drones will sail past the TAO moorings at 5°N, 140°W and 2°N, 140°W. They will pass within 5km of the anchor location at each site, but will not sail boxes around the buoys as originally planned. This will save a small amount of time in getting to the primary work location near the equator.
- The fourth Saildrone should be crossing the equator within the coming week. Stay tuned next time for a diagram of the planned test pattern, to see how the drones will work together to map the area.