Bob the drifter: How do we know where spilled oil will go?

Bob the drifter is an animated representation of the custom-made, GPS-equipped surface drifters used by the Consortium for Advanced Research on the Transport of Hydrocarbon oil in the Environment during the 2012 experiment, Grand LAgrangian Deployment (GLAD). GLAD was the largest upper-ocean field experiment of its kind, using 300+ drifters. The drifters were launched simultaneously and floated along with the Gulf of Mexico currents for over two months, resulting in approximately 6 million data points. The trajectories of drifters like Bob allow scientists to draw maps of the diverse routes that carry floating material (like oil) at the surface of the ocean. For the first time, scientists could measure the influence of both the small-scale, temporary currents and the large-scale, persistent currents (ex. the Loop Current) on the dispersion of pollution. Now scientists can better predict where spilled oil will go.

Provided by Ocean180

Runtime: 1:59

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