The Lagrangian Drifter Laboratory™

The Lagrangian Drifter Laboratory, located at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is a component of NOAA’s Global Drifter Program.

The Lagrangrian Drifter Laboratory (LDL) provides a critical service to the oceanographic community by innovating new drifter designs and sensors as demanded/needed by science applications and evolving observing system requirements. Implementation of new drifter varieties is more than simply the construction and launch of new instruments; the LDL evaluates the motion physics, performance, and stability of each sensor and also performs cross-sensor evaluation that will allow new drifters to contribute consistent data to the global drifter data set.

NOAA’s Global Drifter Program (GDP) supports more than 1,250 surface Lagrangian drifters. The Lagrangian Drifter Laboratory provides most of the drifters needed to maintain the GDP array and manages the real-time delivery of drifter data.

> Learn more about the GDP

Lagrangian Drifter Laboratory Mission

  • Innovate and advance surface Lagrangian drifter technology
  • Fabricate and acquire the drifters needed to maintain the Global Drifter Program array (more than 900 drifters per year)
  • Manage the real-time delivery of the drifter data through the Iridium satellite network
  • Post the drifter data in real time to the Global Telecommunication System
  • Provide enhanced drifter data sets to the scientific community
  • Provide scientific analysis and interpretation of the drifter data
  • Maintain an array of hurricane drifters designed to be air-deployed in front of storms to augment the existing barometer drifter array