OR&R Drift Card Studies

Over the years, NOAA’s Office of drift watch   Response and Restoration (OR&R) and other NOAA workplaces have used flow cards–firstly plastic however now skinny, biodegradable pieces of wood, colored with shiny non-poisonous paint–to learn more approximately the route of ocean currents in a specific region. On the cards are instructions asking the finder to document the date and place determined.
Drift cards are frequently released as part of an oil spill reaction exercise or drill. Our intention in releasing the playing cards is to collect statistics approximately the feasible go with the flow of an oil spill. Drift cards also can suggest where other things, along with stricken fishing boats, marine debris, plankton, or maybe sewage, might glide.
Drift card studies have a number of benefits to us. They are inexpensive, allow us to do a small have a look at over a huge variety of environmental conditions and over a fairly long time frame, and deliver us the advantage of volunteer assistants
On some events within the past, we’ve launched waft cards as part of an real spill response. For example, the predecessor to OR&R launched float playing cards all through the reaction to the December 1976 grounding of the M/V Argo Merchant close to Nantucket Island, Mass. Released from Nantucket Shoals, several of those flow playing cards were determined through the years in Ireland and France. Drift playing cards have been additionally released as part of the reaction to the June 1979 Ixtoc 1 oil well blowout inside the Bay of Campache, 600 miles south of Texas within the Gulf of Mexico. These playing cards have been launched between July and August, 1979.
Hawaii
From 2002 to 2004, OR&R scientists carried out an exploratory take a look at to learn greater approximately the route of ocean currents off Oahu, Hawaii. The purpose of the study become twofold: to find a trend in where floating pollution would possibly pass under different environmental conditions, if launched from the south shores of Oahu, and to present us an idea of wherein we must direct our efforts in future studies. About once a month, volunteers from the oil spill cooperative, Clean Islands Council, released a batch of a hundred cards from Barber’s Point, close to Honolulu. We also launched several sets of special playing cards at some stage in Kona wind events. These occasions, with winds from the south and southwest, normally occur numerous times at some stage in the iciness months in Hawaii and have the capacity to hold pollution to the Waikiki and Diamond Head areas.

Safe Sanctuaries (Florida)
In 2005, a float card release became one issue of the pollutants reaction drill, Safe Sanctuaries 2005(link is external) [PDF, 283 KB]. We designed the examine to version floating pollutants within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, wherein the drill occurred. In this exercising, OR&R and its co-lead, the National Marine Sanctuary Program, worked carefully with partners in NOAA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Florida State Department of Environmental Protection to exercising their emergency response talents and to provide education. (You can examine greater about this occasion in the video, Safe Sanctuaries 2005: Emergency Response Drill. Drift playing cards are discussed at approximately 10:30.)

Safe Seas (California)
Photo: Green drift playing cards on a sand seaside.
During the Safe Seas exercise, green waft playing cards had been scattered on beaches at sunrise to symbolize oil and marine particles washed ashore after the hypothetical collision. Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams that visited the beaches later in the day used the cards to map the region and circumstance of the “oil” and advocate cleanup strategies. (USGS)

The following year in the course of the Safe Seas 2006 oil spill–preparedness exercising, we simulated spilled pollution by way of freeing hundreds of glide cards at the website of hypothetical spills west of San Francisco. The consequences of this observe are to be had on an in advance, archived model of our website. Our flow card FAQ solutions most of the questions that people have asked about flow card releases, and the U.S. Geological Survey has more information and pictures(link is outside) from the drill.

More Information about Drift Card and Ocean Studies
NOAA Global Drifter Program: Drifting buoys, or “drifters,” are seashore ball-sized buoys that you can have seen out within the water. Unlike Argo floats or gliders that dive underwater, drifters glide at the floor of the ocean. Drifters can degree temperature, salinity, sea stage pressure, wind, currents, or even wave houses. There are currently about 1,three hundred drifters in the worldwide ocean as part of the Global Drifter Program. GOMO works with the Scripps Langrangian Drifter Lab(hyperlink is external) (LDL) to expand distinct styles of drifters, and NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab (AOML) to installation drifters in scientifically great components of the ocean.

The Threat of Humboldt County’s Spartina Population to Other West Coast Estuaries(link is external) [PDF, 1.4 MB]: A Portland State University research crew used glide card releases from Washington kingdom and California bays to help version the ability spread of an invasive marsh grass, Spartina, to Oregon estuaries. More information is to be had inside the Spartina Dispersal Study: Drift Card Release FAQ(link is outside) [PDF, 87 KB].

Using Oceanographic Linkages to Guide Marine Protected Area Network Design(hyperlink is external) [PDF, 489 KB]: Scientists have used glide cards to deduce the motion of larvae of diverse marine species in the waters off northwestern Washington country to aid in making plans networks of Marine Protected Areas.

Flotsametrics and the Floating World:(hyperlink is outside) Retired oceanographer Curt Ebbesmeyer operates the Beachcombers Alert(hyperlink is outside), an global community of beachcombers who accumulate and interpret traceable flotsam (floating trash). For a few NOAA drifter releases that are not funded, NOAA has entrusted Dr. Ebbesmeyer as keeper of the waft card information. He can be reached via the Contact section of the Flotsametrics website.

Video: Adopt a Drifter: Scientists can also collect and analyze ocean statistics through the usage of larger, extra state-of-the-art drifting buoys. Through the NOAA Adopt a Drifter software, kids assist deploy “drifters” from ships at sea to find out about ocean currents in actual time.

A NOAA drifter that looks as if a seaside ball-sized buoy within the ocean.An followed drifter deployed inside the ocean. (NOAA)
Drifting Objects in the News
A small orange plastic drift card is picked up from a few particles on a seashore.
A float card launched after an oil spill on the east coast of america turned into located on a Cornish seaside more than 37 years later. (Neil Hope, Diving Images, www.Divingimages.Co.Uk(link is external), rights reserved)

Message in a bottle from Japan washes up on Hawaii beach after 37 years:(hyperlink is outside) Discovery made with the aid of a local girl comes a long time after the bottle become placed into the ocean by schoolchildren as part of an experiment to reveal ocean currents.

Long Ago and Far Away: Drift Cards Found forty five Years Later and Thousands of Miles Away: Two plastic drift cards released throughout an oil spill in Nantucket (USA) are observed 45 years later in Europe.

3,000 Shipping Containers Fell Into the Pacific Ocean Last Winter:(link is outside) A upward thrust in box-deliver injuries adds to the developing marine plastic pollutants problem and poses dangers to ocean health, wildlife and mariners.

Toy boat washes onto shores of Lake Superior – 27 years after launch in Minnesota:(link is outside) Two teachers released two toy boats at some point of a category subject experience in Duluth, Minnesota within the 1993-94 college yr, as part of a lesson on “Paddle-to-the-Sea,” a 1941 children’s ebook through Holling C. Holling. Read how one of the boats became observed.

Government’s message in a bottle determined fifty six years later(hyperlink is external): While beachcombing alongside the Padre Island National Seashore in Texas, a couple determined an antique bottle with a message internal. Little did they understand at the time that the message in a bottle become from the U.S. Authorities and a reward was being presented.

Drones and Drifters (and the Great Pumpkin Race):(hyperlink is external) This video, produced by using Luna Ocean Consulting Ltd., capabilities evidence of concept checking out for using UAVs (aka drones) to track biodegradable drifters (aka pumpkins) and calculate their pace and route. The number one goal is to develop a value-powerful and environmentally pleasant technique for mapping go with the flow fields in tidal channels and rivers.

“Drifting inside the Gulf” Video:(link is outside) This video depicts the pains and mistakes of designing the “best” drifter. Scientists with the Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment II (CARTHE II(hyperlink is external)) spent two years checking out special structures and substances to expand a sensible, value-efficient, and biodegradable drifter layout. They partnered with the media emblem Waterlust to create a video describing the researchers’ revel in designing, testing, and deploying the new GPS-geared up drifters during the Lagrangian Submesoscale Experiment (LASER), the biggest ocean drifter test in records.

CARTHE:(hyperlink is outside) Read articles approximately a research team devoted to predicting the destiny of oil released into our environment, view images from that paintings, and watch a spread of films, all furnished by means of the Corsortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon within the Environment (CARTHE).

132 Year Old Message in a Bottle Found on West Australia Beach:(hyperlink is external) The global’s oldest recognised message in a bottle has been observed 1/2-buried at a West Australian seashore almost 132 years after it turned into tossed overboard within the Indian Ocean, 950km from the coast.

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