Advances in the Application of Surface Drifters

Rick Lumpkin, Tamay M Ozgokmen, Luca Centurioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Surface drifting buoys, or drifters, are used in oceanographic and climate research, oil spill tracking, weather forecasting, search and rescue operations, calibration and validation of velocities from high-frequency radar and from altimeters, iceberg tracking, and support of offshore drilling operations. In this review, we present a brief history of drifters, from the message in a bottle to the latest satellite-tracked, multisensor drifters. We discuss the different types of drifters currently used for research and operations as well as drifter designs in development. We conclude with a discussion of the various properties that can be observed with drifters, with heavy emphasis on a critical process that cannot adequately be observed by any other instrument: dispersion in the upper ocean, driven by turbulence at scales from waves through the submesoscale to the large-scale geostrophic eddies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-81
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Marine Science
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 3 2017

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drifter
search and rescue
weather forecasting
iceberg
upper ocean
altimeter
oil spill
eddy
turbulence
drilling
radar
calibration
climate
history

Keywords

  • Dispersion
  • Drifters
  • Lagrangian observations
  • Surface currents
  • Transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography

Cite this

Advances in the Application of Surface Drifters. / Lumpkin, Rick; Ozgokmen, Tamay M; Centurioni, Luca.

In: Annual Review of Marine Science, Vol. 9, No. 1, 03.01.2017, p. 59-81.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lumpkin, Rick ; Ozgokmen, Tamay M ; Centurioni, Luca. / Advances in the Application of Surface Drifters. In: Annual Review of Marine Science. 2017 ; Vol. 9, No. 1. pp. 59-81.
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