Drifter Data for the Classroom

Exploring the Ocean Surface with Data from the Global Drifter Program

This guide from the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College provides educators with information on the classroom use of buoy data from the Global Drifter Program. This data is produced by an array of over 1000 drifting buoys, monitored by satellite, that make measurements of sea surface temperature (SST) and surface velocity.  The data are used to track ocean currents and measure properties such as sea surface temperature, salinity, wind speed, and atmospheric pressure. Topics include meteorology, ocean surface currents, and hurricanes.

Glaciers and Ocean Currents, Article and Animation

With many of Greenland’s glaciers rapidly shrinking, WHOI oceanographers ask whether warming ocean currents could be hastening their retreat.  This article and animation from Oceanus explore A Glacier’s Pace: Are ocean currents hastening the retreat of Greenland’s glaciers?

Adopt A Drifter Buoy for Your Classroom

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Climate Observation (OCO) established the Adopt a Drifter Program (ADP) in December 2004 for K-12 teachers and university professors from the United States along with international educators. This program provides teachers with the opportunity to infuse ocean observing system data into their curriculum. A drifting buoy (drifter) is a floating ocean buoy equipped with meteorological and oceanographic sensing instruments linked to transmitting equipment where the observed data are sent to data collecting centers. An initial global array of 1250 drifting buoys was completed during 2005.  Find out how to apply to adopt a drifter