Students design, build and deploy ocean drifters equipped with salinity and temperature probes that track surface currents and flow of salt and fresh waters that swirl throughout the harbor.

Students deploying the drifters in Cohasset Harbor

The Drifter Team gathers surface current data about circulation patterns inside Cohasset Harbor. The team will be adding its 2019 data to its robust set of 2018 data (pictured below) to produce a vector map illustrating strength and direction of surface currents between the breakwater and the Gulf River. There’s much to be gained from this information, for it illuminates key features of how tidal currents work to “flush” out the harbor on a daily basis.

2018 Current Tracking Data

Current tracks are used by NOAAOceanographer Jim Manning to build computer models that can predict direction and velocity of surface currents throughout the Gulf of Maine.