2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
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2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

NOAA’s Global Drifter Program (GDP)

no photo available
X-592-L/N Research Location(s): Drake Passage


Event Number:
NSF / NOAA Agreement

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne

ASC POC/Implementer:
Rachel Shackelford / Bruce Felix

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Shaun R Dolk
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Miami, Florida


Supporting Stations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould, RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer
Research Locations: Drake Passage


The Global Drifter Program (GDP) is the principal 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: (1) to 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) to provide a data processing system for scientific use of these data. These data support short-term climate predictions as well as climate research and monitoring.

Field Season Overview

The project principal investigator (PI) will ship all NOAA sound-velocity-profiling (SVP) drifters directly to Punta Arenas, Chile, for onload to the ARSV Laurence M. Gould (LMG), or to the port of operation for onload to the RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer. For LMG cruises, one drifter will be deployed by staff technicians during each crossing of the Drake Passage (one southbound and one northbound). After each deployment, staff technicians will send an email to the PI indicating the buoy identification number, date, and the latitude and longitude where it was released.