The ocean is constantly in motion. Ocean water moves in waves,
tides, and currents.
Currents flow like rivers. These "rivers" of ocean water
can move colder or warmer water to different places in the ocean.
Currents also move small plants and animals, pollution, and other
here to see how shoes took a trip around the Pacific Ocean!
One way scientists study currents is by using ocean drifter buoys.
Drifter buoys can be used to track the path of currents. The drifters
can be put into the ocean from ships or from airplanes. Each drifter
buoy often collects and sends data for 1 1/2 years. Click
here to find out more about drifter buoys.
|These scientists are deploying (releasing) a drifter
from a research vessel. The drogue (what the scientist in the
center is holding) is the first portion dropped into the water,
followed by the surface float (what the scientist on the right
||An ocean drifter has three parts: the yellow drogue,
a temperature sensor, and a white surface float. The surface
float contains a transmitter to send data to a satellite.
|These colored lines are the tracks of drifters
released in August 1995 off Newport OR. The black line is the
coastline of Oregon and California. The tracks are marked with
dots at weekly time periods through March 1996.
||This chart shows tracks of drifters released into
the Pacific Ocean in July 1999 off Newport Oregon. The black
line is the coastline of Oregon and California. These tracks
are marked with dots at weekly time periods through December