Driftin’ Away to Sea

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This morning (April 8, 2014) John and Jo had a wonderful opportunity to work with some students in Hull on the Science Center’s first deployable global ocean drifter. With just a piece or two to tie up, it’s almost ready to go in the water.

Drifters are used for several purposes: to track currents, tides, the movements of lobster eggs, of harmful algal blooms, to track sea surface temperatures, and more. This one, decorated in the blue and gold of the Hull Pirates, will set out onto the sea from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and will add to our collective knowledge of the motions of the sea. Students will be able to track the progress by satellite and then study the final results when it runs aground, its battery dies, or come what may.

The students were virtually visited by Dr. Diane Stanitski of NOAA via Skype, who told them of the research potential of drifters, the international Adopt-a-Drifter program and careers with NOAA. Abby Smith, a drifter specialist, worked with the team as well in building their drifter and sharing with them stories of the local practical applications of drifters.

There’s more to come with this project, as we send this pirate to sea!