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North Atlantic Glider Base

What is a Glider? A short introduction to all those new to this technology... 

Since 2009 SAMS uses Gliders and AUVs to support research projects investigating the oceanography of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

About underwater gliders

glider-style.jpgGliders are buoyancy driven and energy-efficient autonomous vehicles that can undertake independent journeys for up to seven months at depths between the surface and 1000m making continuous measurements of a range of seawater properties. They relay the collected data in real-time to the Institute and communicate with a pilot back at base using an Iridium satellite link.   The glider pilot receives position, scientific and technical data and based on this can instruct the glider on waypoints to aim for during its mission.

Although limits in depth range, sensor availability and power supply mean that gliders will supplement rather than fully replace ship borne observations, the novel use of gliders to monitor the state of the global ocean opens up huge opportunities not only for understanding the state of the ocean, but also for undertaking new research that will build on our ability to predict future climate states.

SAMS currently operates seven Seagliders

  • Talisker (since 2008)
  • Ardbeg (since 2011)
  • Scapa (since 2014)
  • Laphroaig (since 2014)
  • Jura (since 2014)
  • Bowmore (since 2014)
  • Knockando (since 2014)

View the real-time data.

The full list of SAMS glider missions and reports can be found here.


About the NAGB

The North Atlantic Glider Base welcomes scientists from all over the world to bring Gliders to SAMS for deep water testing, launch and recovery for North Atlantic missions, and for advice on operations and on real-time data delivery. We also provide access to our gliders and AUV for development and trial of new sensors.

The NAGB offers

  • Access to laboratory space for pre-mission Glider preparation including ballasting
  • Access to coastal research vessels for sheltered deep water testing (to 200 m)
  • Access to fast vessels for deployment and recovery for North Atlantic missions
  • Advice on scientific and operational aspects of Glider missions
  • Advice on software for real-time Glider data delivery to GTS or to data centres

The North Atlantic Glider Base is a delivery partner of the Marine Autonomous Robotic Systems at the National Oceanography Centre and is supported by NERC National Capability funding. As part of our National Capability we offer the above on a free-at-the-point-of-use basis to NERC applicants proposing to use the National MARS facility housed at NOCS. To non-NERC users we offer the above on an appropriately costed basis (contact Dr Keri Wallace for quotes).


SAMS science projects involving gliders



Contact information


Relevant links

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science contact

Professor Mark Inall SAMS

Professor Mark Inall
T: +44 (0) 1631 559 267
F: +44 (0) 1631 559 001
SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, UK

Contact us
Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA
T: 01631 559000
F: 01631 559001