On Wednesday 19th October 2011, the main news have been the commissioning and deployment of an unmanned underwater vehicle (Seaglider© model) in waters of the marine reserve of "Mar de las Calmas" in front of "El Tacorón", which is expected will increase the spatial and temporal capacity of biogeochemical parameters observation in the water column. The vehicle is scheduled to monitor a representative zone of the affected area as a first approach, for an unknown defined period. This sampling may provide valuable information to the different socio-economic sectors affected by the phenomenon.
This type of vehicle, given the complexity and the level of care that implies its pilotage during the early days of mission (moment when all the major adjustments to the component subsystems happen), requires special attention by the staff responsible for its management.
The glider used is a Seaglider© model, named "Altair", produced by the company iRobot©. It is equipped with sensors able to measure depth, temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll, other fluorescent organic products and turbidity. The device can sample to 1000m depth continuously over a time varying between 3 and 6 months, depending on sailing conditions and the number of observations made.
The decision to put it into operation was based on sampling and analysis, to determine whether the glider sensor configuration available could determine relevant characteristics of the phenomena which are being developed in the marine environment around the volcanic focus.
The speed and effectiveness of the launch have been possible thanks to the intensive work made by PLOCAN staff and colleagues from USA and Europe, who have strongly supported this operation, particularly David Smeed from the NOC.
External link: http://plocan.eu/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=224:underwater-glider-seagliderc-will-be-operating-in-waters-around-the-island-for-7-days&catid=46:volcanic-processes-on-the-island-of-el-hierro&Itemid=128