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Drop-a-Drifter Water Trajectories off the California Coast: The movement of a particle of water (the trajectory) can be computed at selected depths of the upper 400 meters during the past two weeks and future (72-hrs into the future).The release hour is set for the local time within the Pacific time zone, and PDT = GMT -7 hours. This can be used to indicate where any floating substance (oil etc.) or object (buoy etc.) came from or will go. Choose a starting point for a trajectory by "dropping" a virtual drifter marker inside the red box on the map. Virtual drifter locations can also be entered by the exact latitude (from 27.8 to 44.9) and longitude (from -134.6 to -116.6) values. A maximum number of ten (10) virtual drifters can be released each time, mostly due to the computational considerations. The drifter path will be indicated by a colored line based on the dates selected. Trajectories are determined using the velocity fields produced by the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) over the California coastal ocean with a spatial resolution of 3 kilometers. Both the satellite and in situ observations available in real-time are assimilated into ROMS using the 3-dimensional variational (3DVAR) scheme. The ROMS 3DVAR real-time nowcast/forecast system is jointly funded by CeNCOOS and SCCOOS, while the drop-a-drifter tool is funded by CeNCOOS. Note: although several data sources are incorporated in ROMS, the performance of drifter trajectories has not yet been evaluated with observational data.

Computer support is provided by Remote Sensing Solutions, Inc. and Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering at UCLA. For questions or additional information, please contact the Principal Investigator Dr. Yi Chao at