Tabor Academy teams up with NOAA to study ocean currents

Aug 25, 2015

This summer, Tabor Academy collaborated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Tim Anderson to study ocean currents in the area. Utilizing the Academy’s ship, Tabor Boy, Tim Anderson oversaw the deployment of two NOAA drifters and a drifter built by Tabor students last fall.

Oceanographic drifters are simple, free-floating instruments that transmit their own positions via satellite. The drifters are used to observe ocean circulation patterns and currents. Here on Buzzards Bay, they are performing the task of working to validate ocean current circulation models, providing NOAA and Tabor students with useful data.

This collaborative project between Tabor Academy and NOAA/Northeast Fisheries Science Center began a year ago when Tabor’s Marine Science faculty members Jenny Albright and Kimberly Ulmer met with Jim Manning at the Woods Hole NOAA office during their summer study research visits. Albright and Ulmer brought back the idea of Tabor students building and deploying oceanographic drifters and then studying and contributing the data.

Tabor’s drifter was designed and constructed Tabor Boy Captain James Geil’s Theoretical Ship and Boat Design class last fall. From the student designs, a prototype was built and tested, and then implemented during the Tabor Boy new student orientation program this summer, starting with voyage one in June.

Jim Manning took an interest in the data being collected and suggested to Tabor that they deploy all three drifters to make a comparative study throughout the summer.

Along with Tabor and the team at NOAA anyone can track the progress of the three drifters (updated by satellite every few hours) on the following Google map link: