Thursday, 18 November 2010

Where are those drifters?

It's been some time (about a month) since we deployed the drifters from the Algoa - so let's see how they've been doing out there in the ocean!

NOAA's Physical Oceanography Division (PhOD) has a handy list of drifter ID numbers and their corresponding WMO ID# and the date, location and vessel from which they were deployed. Using this, we find the following:

ID# WMO# Date Lat Long Ship Manufacturer Type Program
70969 17517 2010/10/02 27 13.6S 037 43.4E ALGOA !Technocean SVPBD2 5325
70971 17519 2010/10/23 20 00.0S 054 01.9E ALGOA !Technocean SVPBD2 5325
70972 17681 2010/10/03 26 26.4S 042 11.8E ALGOA !Technocean SVPBD2 5325

(The other two buoys [70970,70973] are not in the system yet).

You can see from the model numbers (SVPBD2) that these have barometers on board - so more data is available from these buoys than just position and sea surface temperature. Very handy for meteorologists, too; these buoys were sent to us from the South African Weather Service.

The WMO ID numbers are used to track the buoys across the world; entering them into the drifter tracking page on the PhOD site, or on NOAA's OSMC site will let us track them. So let's have a look!

Here's 70969/17517, adopted by Indwe Secondary School and Bradley Elementary School, showing the track and SST:

(Try this link to re-generate an image; this will also give you the latest available results from the buoy)
Looks like it got sucked straight into the Agulhas Current - it will be interesting to see what happens to it now - will it spin off into the Atlantic, or travel through the Agulhas Retroflection and then eastwards across the Indian Ocean?

70971/17519 isn't available through the PhOD site yet, so here's a position plot courtesy of the OSMC site:
On the plot, you can see it's gradually heading south, offshore of the east coast of Madagascar. It'll be interesting to see how it travels from here!

Now let's see what happened to the buoy (70972/17681) the younger group of students from George adopted:
The most interesting plot so far! Looks like it's caught in some kind of eddy south west of Madagascar. The temperature plot looks more interesting too! Get the latest version here.

The Algoa will be heading off again in a week or so to deploy the Agulhas Return Current (ARC) mooring in partnership with NOAA - if your school or class would like to Adopt a Drifter, please fill out the adoption forms at NOAA's ADP website as soon as possible!

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