National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Supporting Stations: Special Project
Research Locations: Southern Ocean
The Global Drifter Program (GDP) is the principle component of the Global Surface Drifting Buoy Array, a branch of NOAA's Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and a scientific project of the Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP). Its objectives are to (1) Maintain a global 5x5 degree array of 1,250 ARGOS-tracked surface drifting buoys to meet the need for an accurate and globally dense set of in-situ observations of mixed layer currents, sea surface temperature, atmospheric pressure, winds and salinity, and (2) Provide a data processing system for scientific use of these data. These data support short-term (seasonal to interannual) climate predictions as well as climate research and monitoring.
Field Season Overview:
The project PI ships all buoys directly to Punta Arenas for vessel onload. Two drifters will be deployed by staff technicians during each crossing of the Drake Passage. For optimal spacing, deployments will be staggered between the southbound and northbound voyages. For example, on the southbound leg a drifter will be deployed at 59-degrees south latitude; on the northbound leg a drifter will be deployed at 60-degrees south latitude. After each deployment staff technicians will send an email to the PI indicating the buoy identification number, date and location (latitude/longitude) where it was dropped.