Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rickards Holds Drifter Testing Day

Student teams from the IB Program at Rickards High School in Tallahassee have been busy working on designs for ocean drifters that can move with the surface currents near the coast/beach/surf zone.  

The two best designs will be included in an upcoming SCOPE (Surfzone Coastal Oil Pathways Experiment) where dozens of drifters will be released in the Gulf of Mexico.  Each drifter, including those designed by the students, will be equipped with a GPS unit to allow scientists (and the students) to track their movements. 

To determine which of the drifter prototypes were ready for such a mission, they were put to the test on Saturday!  Rickards teacher Dana Fields and Deep-C scientist Nico Wienders evaluated each design to determine if it met the criteria necessary to fulfill a mission in the Gulf of Mexico.  They evaluated each drifter's buoyancy, durability, and portability.  Because unless a drifter is correctly designed, it may be blown by the wind rather than transported by the current and it won't withstand the rain, wind and constant movement in the waves.     



Some students were nervous when their drifter was dropped into the pool... watching anxiously to see if it would take on water or sink.  Others crossed their fingers when their design was flipped over.  The judges were testing if it would right itself (one of the necessary characteristics of  a functional ocean drifter). 

Across the board, "they did incredible," Dr. Wienders said. "I was seriously impressed!"

Once the scores are tallied and the judges have time to confer, they will announce the two winning designs.  So stay tuned...


Posted by:
Amelia Vaughan,
Ocean Science Educator
FSU-COAPS


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Students at Rickards High School in Tallahassee have accepted the challenge!

Eight student teams at Rickards High School's IB Program have decided to jump into the SCOPE (Surfzone Coastal Oil Pathways Experiment) Drifter Project by designing and building their own drifters.  Scope is part of the CARTHE Consortium, an initiative charged with predicting the fate of oil released into the environment to help inform and guide response teams. CARTHE, along with the Deep-C Consortium, are challenging students to create new and improved drifters that can help scientists learn more about currents and waves in the Gulf of Mexico.

Two designs presented this Saturday will be selected, fitted with GPS units, and deployed into the Gulf of Mexico during a coastal experiment being conducted by scientists seeking to understand how currents and waves affect the movement of oil and other toxins onto shore.  The experiment will be based at John Beasley Park, Okaloosa Island, FL. Most of the drifters will be deployed from the beach.  (For details, read the 2013 Ocean Drifter Project Fact Sheet).

Testing of the Rickards drifter designs will take place this Saturday, November 23.  Eight student groups will test their drifters -- each branded with a moniker as unique as their individual designs:
  • The Current'anator
  • Duck Dodger
  • Hannibal
  • The Jellyfish
  • The Aggressor
  • Water boy
  • Whatever floats your boat
  • Zakoosa

Take a look at the drifter designs the student teams will be presenting and testing this Saturday:


Rickards High School Science Teacher Ms. Dana Fields
with Dr. Nico Wienders, a physical oceanographer at
Florida State University and member of the Deep-C Consortium. 
Judges, including teacher Dana Fields and Deep-C scientist Nico Wienders, will be asking each testing group to explain the design of their drifters and defend why they believe it is the most sea worthy and best for the SCOPE mission.  The drifters will also be put to a test on-site to ensure they meet the criteria necessary for them to fulfill a scientific mission in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The Challenge! 
Students were asked to create drifters that can move with the surface currents near the coast/beach/surf zone. In developing their designs, participants considered materials that might be best for future scientific research (biodegradable vs plastic, colors, weight, ability to float, etc). They also considered wind, currents, storms, boats, etc. because unless a drifter is correctly designed, it may be blown by the wind rather than transported by the current. Worse yet, it may not be able to withstand the constant pounding of powerful ocean waves. 

Important Criteria for Surf Zone/Coastal Drifters 
  • First... must be able to float! 
  • Next, it needs to include a GPS unit via straps, Velcro, zip ties, or something that will attach the unit to the drifter; 
  • It must be durable and sturdy... able to take a withstand rain, wind and constant movement in the waves; 
  • It must be small and light enough to be carried on a jet ski (less than 10 kilos, but 3-5 kilos is better); 
  • It should be easy to hold on to (some have handles or something that can be easily grasped during deployment); 
  • And, it cannot be deeper than 50 cm.

Posted by:

Tracy Ippolito
Deep-C Coordinator

Monday, November 18, 2013

Joseph Guerrera’s Research Blog - Part 1

Hello all. 

My name is Joseph Guerrera and I am a freshman undergraduate researcher at Florida State University from Clearwater, Florida. I am taking part in an internship with Deep-C scientist Dr. Nico Wienders through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). The program is designed to introduce me to oceanography and research. Over the remainder of this fall and spring semester, I will be working alongside Dr. Wienders examining hydrology in the Gulf of Mexico, primarily in the De Soto Canyon. 

My internship will consist of several parts. Currently I am learning everything I can about oceanography and circulation patterns in the Gulf of Mexico in order to better grasp what the project is all about. I have also started learning MATLAB, which we will begin using very soon. One of the first tasks will be to compare data with model projections using MATLAB. In the coming weeks model data will be obtained from researchers at several universities, and after the model data is collected and organized it will be compared to the experimental data obtained in the Gulf. 

I am excited to begin my research career at Florida State with this internship. And through my participation in the Deep-C project, I hope to gain a better understanding of the physical properties of the Gulf of Mexico and oceanography in general. In the coming weeks I look forward to posting updates on our progress comparing model data to experimental data using MATLAB.

Posted By: 
Joseph Guerrera
Florida State University

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mahmud Hasan Ghani's Internship, Fall 2013 - Part 5

Satellite vs. SailBuoy Data 

In my last blog, I showed the sea surface temperature (SST) mapping of the SailBuoy against the satellite SST data for April 12-18, 2013, from the northern Gulf of Mexico. Today, I’m going to discuss more of this comparison.

The analysis between the two data sets displays convincible results of the sea surface temperature in Gulf of Mexico region that is going to open a new era in the application of remotely operated oceanic vessels. From the SailBuoy, in our current study period, 23.72 °C was the highest temperature, while 23.25 °C was the highest processes temperature value from Aqua MODIS products. Here, the difference is only 0.46 °C, which is most reliable. At the same time, the minimum temperature difference recorded for this period is only 0.24 °C, and the average temperature difference is .09 °C, which might be a negligible value. The figure is showing a strong trend between the two data sets with average values of 22.56 °C and 22.47 °C for the SailBuoy and satellite, respectively.  
Posted By:
Mahmud Hasan Ghani, Norwegian Meteorological Institute

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Building Drifters for the SCOPE Project

Photo courtesy of CARTHE
Next month, scientists from Florida State University and the University of Miami will release 200 coastal drifters from Okaloosa Island, FL as part a scientific experiment designed to investigate how currents and waves affect the movement of oil and other toxins onto shore.  A group of high school students from schools throughout Florida have been invited to participate in this hands-on experiment by designing and building their own drifters which will then be deployed in the December drifter release. 

“What we want to understand is how oil ends up on the beach, and that starts with having oil — in this case, simulated with drifters — outside the surfzone,” explains Ad Reniers, an associate professor of applied marine physics who is the lead investigator Surfzone Coastal Oil Pathways Experiment (SCOPE). 

Scope is part of the Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment, or CARTHE, an initiative charged with predicting the fate of oil released into the environment to help inform and guide response teams. CARTHE, along with the Deep-C Consortium, are challenging students to create new and improved drifters that can help scientists learn more about currents and waves in the Gulf of Mexico.

More About Coastal Drifters
Oceanographers use drifters to collect data and track ocean currents and eddies.  Typically, drifters are deployed from a vessel (a ship or, in this particular case, a jet ski).  Once released, they float along with the ocean currents, for days, months, and even years.  Drifters provide data on their location and speed to scientists via Global Positioning System (GPS) units, so researchers use them to learn how the currents and waves affect the movement of particles (such as oil or pollutants) in the ocean. 

Students in Miami testing their homemade drifters
The Challenge! 
We want students to create drifters that will move with the surface currents near the coast/beach/surf zone. Participants should consider possible new materials that might be best for future scientific research (biodegradable vs plastic, colors, weight, ability to float, etc). Also consider wind, currents, storms, boats, etc. Unless a drifter is correctly designed, it may be blown by the wind rather than transported by the current.  Or worse yet, it may not be able to withstand the constant pounding of powerful ocean waves. 

Important Criteria for Surf Zone/Coastal Drifters 
  • First... must be able to float!
  • Next, it needs to include a GPS unit via straps, Velcro, zip ties, or something that will attach the unit to the drifter;
  • It must be durable and sturdy... able to take a withstand rain, wind and constant movement in the waves;
  • It must be small and light enough to be carried on a jet ski (less than 10 kilos, but 3-5 kilos is better);
  • It should be easy to hold on to (some have handles or something that can be easily grasped during deployment);
  • And, it cannot be deeper than 50 cm.
If you have been selected to participate in this experiment, be sure to ask questions in the comment section for help and advice on drifter building from one of our experts!  And watch the video below for more information about drifters.



Helpful Resources

Calculating Buoyancy
How to Calculate Buoyancy 
Totally Submerged Object in Water
 Objects Volume = 1ft3
Specific Weight of Water (γWater) = 62.4lb/ft3
FB = 1ft3 x 62.4lb/ft3 = 62.4lb  
                                                       How to Calculate Buoyancy 
Object 50% Submerged in Water
Objects Volume = 1ft3
Submerged volume = 0.5ft3
Specific Weight of Water (γWater) = 62.4lb/ft3
FB = 0.5ft3 x 62.4lb/ft3 = 31.2lb


Posted by:
Amelia Vaughan,
Ocean Science Educator
FSU-COAPS



 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mahmud Hasan Ghani's Internship, Fall 2013 - Part 4

Satellite vs. Sail Buoy Data 

After the two week shutdown of all NOAA websites, again I am on track using an ocean color website for remote sensing data. Usually, the ocean color website is the most common source for remote sensing data, and this shut down hindered my current analysis of in situ sea surface temperature (SST) data with the satellite data.

All new scientific data analysis needs a comparison with the published analysis or validated with referred data. I have been working on the in situ data set analysis retrieved from the SailBuoy and am planning to do comparison with the satellite data. From the Aqua Modis and Aqua Terra satellites, I have selected the Aqua Modis satellite products when both have SST products. But in case of resolution, after several data comparison from 4 micron night and 11 micron data set, I got better results in 11micron products as following my geographical references.

And the result is very clear in terms of data collection by the SailBuoy validating with remote sensing data. In the first stage, I have selected the period of April 12 to April 18, 2013, to make a SST map over the Gulf of Mexico. It shows an almost perfect match with satellite data following temperature values in the region, as shown in below figures. (To be continued...) 

 
Posted By:
Mahmud Hasan Ghani, Norwegian Meteorological Institute

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Science Sleepover

November 5, 2013 -- Last week we had an unusual request...to teach 100 seventh graders in pajamas about science!  Deep-C joined up with the Florida Climate Center to put together 8 activities about weather and the ocean for Fairview Middle School's annual 7th grade sleepover.  Our team of awesome scientists and Florida State students spent their Friday night demonstrating a floodplain, building a hydrometer, getting up close and personal with deep sea creatures, making weather instruments, and much more!



Building a 7 layer density model.

Assistant State Climatologist Melissa Griffin demonstrates the properties of a floodplain.

Dr. Lydia Stefanova from the Center from Oceanic and Atmospheric Prediction Studies(COAPS) exploring the properties of air with a "wind bag".

Students test out their home made anemometers.

Students made hydrometers and then tested salt water vs. fresh water

Trying to entangle the web of life!

Demonstrating how different liquids have different densities.  Pretty cool!