Seabattical Log # 6- The Tabor Drifter and NOAA- An interview with NOAA Hollings Scholarship internist Tim Anderson by Captain Dave Bill
The Tabor Nautical Science Department and SSV TABOR BOY’s collaborative drifter project with NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) continued on it’s track this summer during the TABOR BOY summer new student orientation program. For those of you who missed part one of this project please refer to http://www.taboracademy.org/page/News-Detail?pk=985953&fromId=208795.
Tim Anderson and TABOR BOY crew deploying drifters
Three drifters were deployed by Tabor and NOAA off TABOR BOY in Buzzards Bay during this summer’s second new student orientation. Two of the three drifters stranded within two days. The third drogue drifter continued its path for an extended voyage and only recently grounded on Long Island, New York. As a follow up to our ongoing drifter partnership with NOAA, the following is my interview with the project coordinator Tim Anderson, a NOAA Hollings Scholarship internist, working under the mentorship of scientist James P. Manning, NOAA Marine Fisheries, Woods Hole, Mass.
DB- In your own words, tell us about your drifter research this summer (which included Tabor as a partner)
TA– Drifters inform us about ocean currents. Different drifters float differently. I was curious about how different drifters’ movements varied. I wanted to quantify drifter slip so drifters could be used more reliably and their information more accurate by subtracting slip. Slip is caused by the drifter slipping sideways with the wind and waves while being transported by the surface current.
DB- For folks who are not scientists or educators, what is it about your drifter research that is important to understand?
TA– Drifters provide important information for ocean circulation models. These circulation models are used to study climate change, marine biology, marine life, etc. Circulation models are not always accurate and drifters provide real time data, which improves the accuracy of these models.
DB- What is the next step in your drifter research?
TA– I have some additional data analysis work to crunch. I’ll be working on the correlation between slip and wind effect on drifters. I have a report on the project to complete which I will be presenting at the American Geophysical Union Ocean Sciences 2016 fall conference http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2015/.
DB- What are the things that you learned this summer during your Hollings internship while working under your mentor James Manning, NOAA Marine Fisheries scientist?
TA– As a scientist, it is important to be resourceful and creative. There is always the issue funding to back the work so the scientist has to be creative about how to get to the results from the resources. Jim Manning is both exceptionally resourceful and creative. He is great at getting a lot out of a little and knows when and how to tweak things to make them work.
DB- From your perspective, what can high school students learn from building, deploying and tracking drifters?
TA– Scientists are regular people. It is important for students to get hands on field experience to see what a scientist does and not to be intimidated by science. A scientist doesn’t look any differently than anyone else and it is completely realistic for students to realize that they can be scientists. It would be great if 10 years down the road one Tabor student was inspired by their part in the drifter collaborative project.