Local Students Participate in Drifter Deployment
21st-Century Message in a Bottle Collects Climate Data
St. Petersburg, FL — October 21, 2014 — Getting an early jump on Halloween (in costume!) and on the upcoming BLUE Ocean Film Festival, about 20 high school students and teachers from Canterbury School of Florida will deploy a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) drifting buoy on Friday October 31. This deployment is the first of its kind in the St. Petersburg area.
The drifter will give students the chance to learn about the ocean right from their classrooms, and with the same near-real-time data that ocean and climate scientists use. Students from Canterbury will partner with the Island School in Eleuthera Bahamas to track their drifter.
The drifter will be deployed from The Florida Institute of Oceanography R/V Weatherbird II, a 115-foot, 194-ton vessel that has become one of the nation’s most storied research vessels after its repeated voyages to carry out scientific missions in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill catastrophe.
“A drifting buoy is like a 21st-century message in a bottle, except it is equipped with
oceanographic and climate sensors that let it transmit scientific measurements by satellite, helping us understand the oceans,” said Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. “With better understanding, we can better predict the paths of approaching hurricanes, the distribution of fish and other marine species, and the fate of marine pollution and debris. Students in schools across the country can adopt a drifter, and follow its journey via the internet. This relationship makes climate and ocean science more tangible, as students discover the workings of the earth through the lens of their buoy.”
Each drifter, or 44-pound floating ocean buoy, moves in the ocean currents. These currents carry heat from place to place, which affects climate. While satellite technology makes sea surface temperature measurements possible from space, drifters are needed to ensure these measurements are accurate. Without drifter observations to correct satellite measurements, these measurements can err. Each drifter is part of a global ocean array that students can follow online, along with the particular drifter they adopted.
On October 30, prior to the drifter deployment, Dr. Diane Stanitski, coordinator of the NOAA Adopt a Drifter Program, will give two presentations to at Canterbury School of Florida.
Marine Studies at Canterbury is a school-wide program for students in PK3-Grade 12 that focuses on all aspects of marine science and environmental education. This program is designed to enhance the traditional science curriculum and focuses on inquiry-based marine science education and how humans interact with the ocean environment. One of the primary goals of the program is to incorporate hand on, real world science projects into the classroom curriculum. Deploying and tracking a drifter will provide an opportunity to study sea surface temperature and currents from real data.
Partners: BLUE Ocean Film Festival
NOAA Adopt a Drifter Program
University of South Florida
Global Drifter Program
NOAA’s mission is Science, Service, and Stewardship.
To understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts,
To share that knowledge and information with others, and
To conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.