OCS Saildrone Mission 1: September 1, 2017 - May 18, 2018
On September 1, 2017, two Saildrones departed Alameda, California, on a mission to the equator and back, in an effort to improve the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS).
The existing observing system is ready for an update. It was first created in the late 1980s, and provides real-time data used by the US and partner nations to forecast weather and climate, including El Nino, one of the world’s most influential ocean phenomena.
The Saildrones visited mooring sites that are part of the existing tropical observing array to carry out comparisons, and also participated in a larger field study with NASA. This mission was a test of whether the Saildrone can provide measurements at a quality that matches research ships and proven mooring technology. If this is the case, Saildrones will become a powerful tool for providing key observations for long-term weather forecasts.
After eight months at sea, the Saildrones successfully returned home to California. The first boat was recovered on May 6, 2018 in San Luis Obispo Bay. The second was recovered on May 18, 2018 in San Francisco Bay. Scientists are currently analyzing the data acquired during the mission.
Watch the video from the launch below, and review the mission details on the OCS Saildrone TPOS 2017 Mission Blog.