A Little Robot Survives A Battle With Hurricane Sandy

Off the coast of New Jersey, a Wave Glider autonomous robot collected data from inside the storm

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Back in August, a Wave Glider robot named Alex, from Liquid Robotics, headed out into the Caribbean on a mission to measure ocean temperatures and improve hurricane forecasting.

This week, Alex’s sibling robot, Mercury, battled directly through Hurricane Sandy 160 km due east of Toms River, NJ, and the now-decimated Jersey Shore. It met the storm at the point labeled 110 in the map below and traveled with the hurricane to the point labeled 100.

The wave-powered robot transmitted weather data in real time, recording a plunge in barometric pressure of over 54.3 millibars to a low of 946 millibars as Sandy approached the coast. (Typically, atmospheric pressure at sealevel is 1013 millibars). It clocked winds at up to 70 knots, or 130 km/hour.

Photo: top: a Wave Glider robot in the Pacific earlier this year. Below: Wave Glider Mercury's path during Hurricane Sandy. Credit: Liquid Robotics

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