Physical Oceanography, Vol.
5, January, 2011 (Ukrainian Original No.
5, September–October, 2010)
AUTOMATION OF RESEARCH IN SEAS AND OCEANS
INFORMATION-AND-MEASURING DRIFTER SYSTEM FOR THE MONITORING OF
CURRENTS IN THE COASTAL ZONE OF THE SEA
E. G. Lunev,
V. A. Ivanov,
A. G. Kirichenko,
E. M. Lemeshko,
and S. V. Motyzhev
The autonomous drifting buoys equipped with satellite link turn into one of the most important compo-
nents of the global system of operative observations of the ocean and the surface layer of the atmos-
phere. However, on the regional level, the problem of analysis of the surface circulation of waters in the
coastal zone and sea straits remains quite urgent because the available drifters cannot be used in this case
due to their sizes and long intervals between measurements. We present the results of development and
testing of a new drifter system aimed at measuring currents. The system is based on the use of buoys
operating at depths less than 1
m. To improve the space-and-time resolution of measurements, the buoys
are equipped with receivers of the global positioning system (GPS) and GSM modems for the data trans-
fer via cellular communication networks. The drifter system guarantees the possibility of determination
of the coordinates of buoys with a resolution of 3 min in time and 14 m in space. We describe the spe-
cific features of the design of the proposed information-and-measuring drifter system and present the
first results of application of new buoys called “minidrifters” for the pilot monitoring of currents in the
The investigations of the large-scale circulation of waters in the Black Sea are carried out for a long period
of time. Nevertheless, the problem of evaluation of the characteristics of currents in the coastal zones, including
straits, remains quite urgent . The economic and recreational significance, the ecological state of the coastal
zones, and the increasing anthropogenic loading explain the necessity of accumulation of the additional data on
the local systems of currents and confirmation of the adequacy of the results of numerical simulations of the dy-
namics of waters performed on the basis of the experimental data.
There are various methods and technical means used for the in situ measurements of the parameters of cur-
rents. Thus, we can mention systems based on the use of autonomous drifting buoys capable of determination of
the velocities and directions of currents in the surface waters as a result of direct instrumental measurements.
The application of these systems was favored by the appearance of satellite systems used for the data transfer
from buoys and determination of their coordinates. The use of the corresponding equipment enables one to
make the procedure of drifter measurements completely automatic and exclude the necessity of additional sup-
port from the vessels.
Marine Hydrophysical Institute, Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences, Sevastopol, Ukraine.
NPF “Marlin-Yug” Ltd., Sevastopol, Ukraine.
Corresponding author; e-mail: email@example.com.
Translated from Morskoi Gidrofizicheskii Zhurnal, No.
52–64, September–October, 2010. Original article submitted May 5, 2009;
revision submitted June 22, 2009.
366 0928–5105/11/2005–0366 © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.