“Drifting in the Gulf” Video Depicts the Trials and Errors of Designing the Perfect Drifter

Cedric Guigand (left) and Guillaume Novelli (right) display the first assembled production-grade drifter manufactured using the new cost-effective, biodegradable design. (Photo credit: Tamay Ozgokmen/CARTHE)

Cedric Guigand (left) and Guillaume Novelli (right) display the first assembled production-grade drifter manufactured using the new cost-effective, biodegradable design. (Photo credit: Tamay Ozgokmen/CARTHE)

The Deepwater Horizon event highlighted the need for more economical and ecofriendly methods to accurately track and study ocean currents. Scientists with the Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment II (CARTHE II) spent two years testing different structures and materials to develop a practical, cost-efficient, and biodegradable drifter design. They partnered with the media brand Waterlust to create a video describing the researchers’ experience designing, testing, and deploying the new GPS-equipped drifters during the Lagrangian Submesoscale Experiment (LASER), the largest ocean drifter experiment in history.


(Video Credit to CARTHE, Screenscope, and Waterlust)

CARTHE, based at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, unites over fifty of the nation’s top ocean modelers and air-sea interaction experts to investigate the transport of Deepwater Horizon hydrocarbons. Their mission is to predict the fate of oil released into our environment to help inform and guide response teams, thereby protecting and minimizing damage to human health, the economy, and the environment. Waterlust is a purpose-driven brand creating media to inspire scientific curiosity and sustainable products to support marine science research and education. CARTHE previously collaborated with Waterlust to create “Bob the Drifter,” an award-nominated educational video popular with students around the globe.

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This research was made possible in part by a grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) to the Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment II (CARTHE II).

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies. An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research. All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available. The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. For more information, visit http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/.

© Copyright 2010- 2017 Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) – All Rights Reserved. Redistribution is encouraged with acknowledgement to the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). Please credit images and/or videos as done in each article. Questions? Contact web-content editor Nilde “Maggie” Dannreuther, Northern Gulf Institute, Mississippi State University (maggied@ngi.msstate.edu).