[NOAA] U.S. Dept. of Commerce / NOAA / OAR / ERL / PMEL / FOCI / Visualizations [FOCI]
Drifter trajectory animations
About the data  

From 1986-1998 Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (a program of NOAA) deployed more than 200 drifters in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. Most drifters had drogues centered at 40m. In the following animations, the latest 10 days of a trajectory are shown in yellow, and the earlier history in red. The major current systems (Alaskan Stream, Bering Slope Current, Aleutian North Slope Current, Kamchatka Current and Alaska Coastal Current) are clearly evident in the trajectories.
For further information contact Phyllis Stabeno

Funding for this project was provided by NOAA (COP, OCSEAP and OAR).

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About these animations

These animations are comprised of a number of images which are continually updated by a JavaScript function. These images overlay an image showing the bathymetry of the Bering Sea. Each overlay image is comprised of a transparent background, with only the two colors of the drifter tracks visible. This allows us to reduce the file size of the images significantly (from 50K down to approximately 2K per image).This method does, however, have the limitation that only 4.0 browsers are able to view the animations. The number of images comprising each animation varies between 130 and 200 images and are pre-loaded by the animation script. This is a large number of images to load - so be warned that it could take some time if you are browsing the Internet over a slow connection.

Some hints:

  • If you do not have a 4.0 browser, download one - Its free!
  • Selecting "Open a new window for animation" will create a new browser window in which all subsequent animations will be displayed.
  • If JavaScript is disabled on your browser, you will see the text "JavaScript disabled on your browser" above the animation selector. JavaScript has to enabled for you to load and view the animation. Click here for instructions on enabling JS on Navigator or Explorer.
  • Only start the animations once the words "LOADING COMPLETE" has appeared in the status bar of the browser.
  • The size of the animation dictate the size of the animation browser window. The size required for the new browser window is 700 X 500.
  • A "clock" in the top right-hand corner of the animation will indicate the current date of the image being displayed.
About the drifters
SVP (Surface Velocity Program) type drifters, with a holey sock drogue centered at 40m are being used. Data is relayed to NOAA by means of the ARGOS system. The drifter data format is the standard SVP data format. Average life expectancy of the drifters is 8 months.