2020-2021 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Read the latest information from NSF on coronavirus (COVID-19)
2020-2021 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:

Program Manager:
Dr. David Sutherland

ASC POC/Implementer:
Rachel Shackelford / Bruce Felix

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Shaun R Dolk
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Physical Oceanography Division
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

For ARSV Laurence M. Gould (LMG) cruises, one drifter will be deployed by ASC technicians during each crossing of the Drake Passage (one southbound and one northbound). ASC technicians will also deploy drifting buoys while underway onboard the RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP) during various cruises throughout the year.