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July 27, 2016 - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded $380,476 for a project led by researchers at FSU and NOAA/AOML titled, "Development of New Drifter Technology for Observing Currents at the Ocean Surface." Drs. Steve Morey, Nico Wienders, Mark Bourassa, and Dmitry Dukhovskoy (all of FSU), as well as Dr. Rick Lumpkin (NOAA/AOML), will develop and test a new satellite tracked drifter design for measuring currents at the very surface of the ocean.  Typically, observations of "surface" currents really measure the current over the upper several meters, but these currents may be substantially different than the currents right at the surface. Through field experiments with these drifters together with more traditional upper ocean current observation methods, the researchers will gain a better understanding of the vertical structure of currents near the ocean surface. This work will benefit pollutant and debris tracking, air-sea flux measurements and modeling, and provide a tool for validating surface current measurements from future remote sensing instruments. The new drifter technology is anticipated to become available for widespread use and commercialization.

The 1-year project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) at the University of Miami.