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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Antarctic scientists have combined measurements provided by an underwater robot with existing satellite data to show that Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought. Their first-of-a-kind high-resolution 3D maps cover over 500,000 square meters in the Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land sectors of Antarctica, and they reveal heavy deformation in all three near-coastal regions that produces mean sea-ice draft (thickness of the submerged part of the ice) far in excess of ice drilling and ship-based measurements. This is a big leap forward in our ability to understand why and how the ice is changing on both small and large scales. Read More
One of the scientific community's flagship unmanned research submarines, used for deep-sea exploration, has been declared lost as of 2 pm (New Zealand Standard Time), May 10. It was in use by researchers aboard the scientific research vessel, the Thomas G. Read More
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced on Friday that the Alvin deep-sea submersible is returning to service. The DC3 of the oceanographic world was launched fifty years ago in 1964 and is ready to begin its second half-century of service after a three-year overhaul involving significant redesigns and upgrades. Read More
You would think that a little sub built almost 50 years ago would be sitting in a museum somewhere, but Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Alvin, which launched in 1964, is still going strong. Owned by the US Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Alvin has completed a major US$41 million redesign and refit. The revamped submersible set sail on Saturday aboard its mothership R/V Atlantis for certification testing off the coast of Oregon and California. Read More
Every year between November and January, endangered North Atlantic right whales are thought to use an area off the coast of Maine known as the Outer Fall as a breeding ground. They are “thought to” because the ocean conditions at that time of year can make it difficult to locate them. Two autonomous marine robots called gliders have now been used as a real time whale-detection system for researchers and to warn boats in the area to slow down to avoid striking the marine mammals. Read More
It would definitely be an understatement to say that underwater research has its technical challenges. Remote-operated vehicles (ROVs) must be tethered to surface support vessels with unwieldy communications cables, deep-sea water samples have to be hauled to the surface for analysis ... or do they? Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution recently announced that it has partnered with two private companies, to market a couple of technologies that address both of those situations. Read More
It will be like going from black-and-white television to high definition color TV - that’s how researchers at America’s Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have envisioned an upcoming leap forward in undersea acoustic imaging. Tim Stanton and Andone Lavery have developed and tested two broadband acoustic systems that leave conventional single-frequency systems eating their dust... or water droplets, or whatever. Developed over 20 years, the new technology could revolutionize oceanography, and also has huge commercial and military potential. Read More
Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV’s) are at the forefront of new discoveries and important research in the ocean depths, but they are still hindered by cumbersome cables that connect them to their support ships at the surface. It brings back memories of the days before radio-controlled toys, when our remote-control cars had wires coming out of them that ran up to the controllers in our hands. Now, thanks to scientists and engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), ROV’s may soon be set free from their tethers. The researchers have developed an undersea optical communications system, which they describe as “a virtual revolution in high-speed undersea data collection and transmission.” Read More
November 7, 2004 A small ocean glider named Spray is the first autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), to cross the Gulf Stream underwater, proving the viability of self-propelled gliders for long-distance scientific missions and opening new possibilities for studies of the oceans. Launched about 100 miles south of Nantucket Island, the 2-metre orange glider looks like a model airplane with no visible moving parts. It slowly made its way toward Bermuda some 600 miles to the south of Cape Cod at about one-half knot, or 12 miles per day, measuring various properties of the ocean as it glided up to the surface and then back down to 1,000-metres depth (3,300 feet) three times a day. Scientists recovered the vehicle this week north of Bermuda. Read More
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