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Mini-drifters: A breakthrough in coastal Oceanography

Jan 23, 2012

Mini-drifters: A breakthrough in coastal Oceanography

Nomad Science company has developed a new concept for measuring ocean currents in Japanese coastal zones.

The mini-drifters should bring a breakthrough in Oceanography in shallow coastal waters.

The aim of the mini-drifters is to measure current speed via the Argos system.

The characteristics of the mini-drifters

The advantage of mini-drifters is their size. Unlike standard drifters, the “mini” ones are light and compact and therefore can easily avoid sand banks and go through narrow channels. In addition, their small size does not endanger navigation or fishing activities.

 Professor Isobe Atsuhiko deployed 2 mini-drifters in August 2011.

How it works ?

The current speeds are computed between different locations every 10-20 minutes. The GPS implanted on the mini-drifter transmits the position to the Argos system tracking. (see trajectory map).

Before this technical innovation, it was difficult to obtain accurate data in coastal areas. Long-term mooring of current meters is still difficult in coastal waters (drifters represent an obstacle for the navigation activities) and because satellite observations with standard drifters are too coarse.

In summer 2012, 10 more mini-drifters should be deployed near the Japanese coast.

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