NOAA'S Adopt A Drifter Program

OUR MISSION: to establish scientific partnerships between schools around the world and engage students in activities and communication about ocean climate science.

  • A drifter, or drifting buoy, is a piece of scientific equipment that collects data on the ocean’s surface. Drifters allow scientists to track ocean currents, changes in temperature, salinity, and other important components of the ocean’s surface as they float freely and transmit information.
  • The technology within a drifting buoy that allows it to gather and share information is powered by batteries in the dome of the buoy. Attached to the dome is a drogue, which resembles a long cylindrical tail, that allows the buoy to be pulled by ocean currents beneath the surface, not just pushed by winds from above. For a better understanding of the structure of drifters, visit the “Dissect a Drifter” page!)