Lagrangian Drifter, Near-Shore Ocean Circulation Research


We utilize Pacific Gyre GPS/ Mobitex™ "Microstar" drifters to observe and study near-shore ocean circulation off the Southern California coast. The drifters record their position with GPS every 10 minutes and transmit their position data in near real-time to a web-based host computer using the Mobitex narrow band, data-only, cellular communications system. This sort of time and space resolution enables characteristic near-shore circulation patterns to be properly resolved. The drifters give direct observations of paths taken by freely floating objects at the ocean surface such as spilled oil, other pollutants, or things lost at sea.

Experiment / Deployment Areas

Please go to our Deployments Page to see plots and information about our deployment areas.

Science Studies

Related Publications

Centurioni, L. R., J. C. Ohlmann, and P. P. Niiler, Permanent meanders in the California Current System, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 38, 1690-1710, 2008.
Ohlmann, J. C., P. White, L. Washburn, E. Terrill, B. Emery, and M. Otero, Interpretation of Coastal HF Radar-Derived Surface Currents with High-Resolution Drifter Data. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 24, 666-680, 2007.
Ohlmann, J. C., P. F White, A. L. Sybrandy, and P. P. Niller, GPS-cellular drifter technology for coastal ocean observing systems, Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 22, 1381-1388, 2005.
Ohlmann, J. C., A new kind of drifter to observe the coastal ocean, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 86, 1219-1220, 2005.

Related Projects

South Central California CODAR Project
San Diego Coastal Ocean Observing System