To establish scientific partnerships between schools around the world and engage students in activities and communication about ocean climate science.
What is a Drifter?
- A drifter, or drifting buoy, is a piece of scientific equipment that measures sea surface temperature, but most are also equipped to measure other variables. As the drifter moves around, guided by ocean currents, measurements of atmospheric pressure, winds, wave height, and salinity can be taken. This data is collected by sensors in the drifter and transmitted to overhead satellites. Tracking the location of drifters over time allows scientists to build a profile of ocean currents.
A drifter’s drogue, also known as a sea anchor, extends 20 meters (or 65 feet) deep and is designed to move with the near-surface ocean currents. The drogue and surface float move together, connected by a long tether. Without a drogue, the drifter will be transported by wind and waves, much as a ping pong ball or beach ball is pushed across the surface of a pool.
Teacher at Sea
We encourage you to visit the Teacher at Sea homepage using the button below. The Teacher at Sea program allows full-time educators to join NOAA scientists on research cruises and gain first-hand experience working at sea. The program is free for educators; the yearly application window opens November 1st with applications due November 30th.