MPC Drifter Launched Again

We launched the drifter again this past Saturday. This time we set it to transmit every six hours. We’re hoping that it goes out to sea and goes for a long ride. I find myself experiencing drifter envy over the beautifully long and sinuous path the Cape Fear Community College drifter has taken up the Gulf Stream. I don’t have much hope that the California Current will be able to match that ride, so we’ll have to settle with what we get.

Before the cruise I gave my students this image and asked them to predict where the drifter would be in 48 and 96 hours, hoping the challange would give them experience in calculating distances using the rate equation, as well as piquing their interest in following the drifter’s journey.
MBay circulation model with deployment site
We purposefully chose a deployment site where it was a tossup whether the drifter would circulate through Monterey Bay or drift out to sea. There wasn’t a right answer. On the assignment, I merely looked to see that the answers were supported by some sort of manipulation of the rate equation.

Here’s the predictions I got from the students. White locations are 2-day forecasts; purple locations are 4-day forecasts.

On the image you can also see where we intended to deploy the drifter–at the MBARI M1 buoy–and where we actually deployed the drifter; we didn’t quite make it to the M1 buoy in our allotted cruise time.

Today in class, the students manipulated the tracking site and Google Earth to show that the 2-day location of the drifter was almost exactly right in between two of the predictions. So we had two winners. So far the drifter has traveled a few miles SW and then turned around and backtracked to the NE.

Here’s a few pictures of the students deploying the drifter.

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