We’re used to seeing how weather works, with its high- and low-pressure areas, its storms, and so forth. Things are pretty much similar in the sea, and it’s important to know how currents and whirlpools work in order to come up with forecasting models. These models enable us to do things such as:

  • Know in what direction an oil spill is going to move. If we know where it's heading, we can try to contain it so that it does the least possible damage to the environment.
  • Know how the oceans are reacting to climate change.
  • Know how severe winter storms affect the sea. These extreme phenomena can have an impact on marine ecosystems.
  • In the future, gliders will have more advanced sensors that will allow us to measure nitrites, nitrates, pH, alkalinity, etc. This will allow us to take better care of our Marine Protected Areas, among other things.


The gliders you see on this website are the ones we use in the area around the Balearic Islands. This area is an important crossroads between the waters of the Gulf of Lion, to the north, and the Alboran Sea to the south. The channels of Ibiza and Mallorca let in water with lower salinity coming from the Atlantic Ocean, which mixes with saltier water coming from the currents of the northern Mediterranean Sea. The crossing of these currents makes the waters much richer, with a high concentration of larvae from many species, such as bluefin tuna. We need to find out how it all works so we can preserve this wealth. That’s what gliders are for. Before they existed, scientists went out on boats several times a year to take measurements. In winter, bad weather made it harder and considerably more expensive. Now, thanks to gliders, we have much more information that has helped us find out that changes in the main currents happen faster than we had imagined.