Press release archive: 2013

Use of underwater research instrument was tested in the Baltic Sea

19.9.2013 8:27

FMI is a partner in EU-FP7 funded project GROOM, Gliders for Research, Ocean Observation and Management, where the feasibility of building a European glider infrastructure is the main goal.

Photo: Kimmo Tikka

Photo: Kimmo Tikka

FMI is in the project for studying the use of gliders in the Baltic Sea, where the shallowness and complicated topography give challenges to the gliders. One part of the project was RV Aranda’s cruise to the Bothnian Sea and Archipelago Sea in 11. -18. September.

Glider is an autonomous unmanned underwater research instrument able to be piloted remotely from land or ship. Glider dives near to the bottom and rises up to the surface repeatedly using an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable propulsion system based on buoyancy physical concept. No propellers of jets are used. Gliders collect data from physical and biochemical parameters of the sea along a selectable route by the pilot.. The glider sends its data to land via satellites and stores them into its memory.

Gliders are used routinely in ocean research

Gliders are used in ocean research and monitoring routinely today; there exists around 400 gliders in the world. Ocean gliders dive down up to 1000 m depth and travel over distances of hundreds of miles during several month periods at sea.

We tested from RV Aranda a glider owned by PLOCAN, a marine research institution based in Canary Islands, Spain, together with Spanish experts, dr Carlos Barrera and chief glider pilot Alvaro Lorenzo. The glider was piloted from RV Aranda and at the same time RV Aranda did parallel measurements on the same route. The glider mission was very successful thanks to careful ballasting done in Helsinki before the cruise. All participants learned new facts that should be taken into account when using gliders in the Baltic Sea.

Excellent cooperation between experts of FMI and of PLOCAN from Gran Canaria has been continuing already for two years and we aim to increase it. PLOCAN uses gliders regularly for four two-month seasonal sampling missions every year for collecting valuable information from the ocean. PLOCAN organizes an international glider school every summer, too. One specialist from FMI has already participated to that school.

Photos: Kimmo Tikka and Petra Roiha

More information:

Glider diving:

Senior researcher Pekka Alenius, tel. 050 439 2887,
Researcher Kimmo Tikka, tel. 050 439 2886,