Autonomous Drifting Observing Station (ADOS) Drifter

SVP Drifter Schematic
Autonomous Drifting Observing Station (ADOS)

Technical Description

  • Modified 35cm spheroid surface float
  • GPS based tracking
  • Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD) telemetry
  • Sea Surface Temperature (±0.05K accuracy)
  • Sea Level Wind Speed and Direction (wind speed: 2% accuracy FS)
  • Sea Level Barometric Pressure Sensor (±0.4hPa accuracy)
  • Temperature and Water Pressure sensor chain up to 200m depth
  • User customizable node configuration
  • Compatable with 3rd party inductive protocol instruments
  • Variable sampling rate down to 5 minutes


The surface buoy is identical to the one used for the Minimet (SVPW) Drifter and a 150-m long tether replaces the drogue, thus making the ADOS a non-Lagrangian device.

Thermistor Chain (T-Chain)

The surface float measures SST while 10 nodes that measure water pressure and temperature are attached to the cable with equal spacing to 150m depth. The subsurface nodes use inductive communication technology to send the data through the single-conductor impregnated steel wire rope combined with a sea water contact that closes the electrical circuit.

An enhanced version of the ADOS fitted with vertically profiling acoustic current meters was used to measure the properties of large-amplitude non-linear internal waves in the northern South China Sea (Centurioni 2010).

Air Deployments

The ADOS drifter is available as an air-deployable system.

Several air-deployments have been made to date to measure the temperature structure of the upper ocean during the passage of tropical storms and the evolution of the cold wake (D'Asaro et al. 2013; Hormann et al. 2014b; Mrvaljevic et al. 2013).