GENTOO stands for Gliders: Excellent New Tools for Observing the Ocean. As well as the name of one of our favorite penguins, the project title emphasizes the compelling prospect of using ocean gliders to continously monitor remote but influential regions of the ocean, like the Weddell Sea. Data collected by our gliders will provide us with an exciting new view of the variability and inter-dependence of ocean physics, chemistry and biology at the boundary between the Antarctic margins and the global ocean.
There are very few places in the world where water becomes dense enough to sink to the very bottom of the ocean. Exposure to cold temperatures, formation of sea ice and interaction with ice shelves means that water from the Weddell Sea makes the dominant contribution to the ocean's bottom waters. These bottom waters are a key part of the ocean current system because as they sink, they push older waters towards the surface creating a global "overturning" circulation.
Monitoring the export of Antarctic Bottom Water from the Weddell Sea is a significant challenge due to the remote location and harsh conditions. The GENTOO project will use ocean gliders to autonomously sample the northwestern Weddell Sea over an extended period. Physical, chemical and biological observations will resolve for the first time the variability in a region that has global significance for ocean circulation, climate and ecology. We invite you to follow us! Read more.