Surface Velocity Program Salinity (SVPS) Drifter

Technical Description

  • 35 cm sphere surface float
  • GPS-based tracking
  • Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD) telemetry
  • Sea surface temperature (±0.05 K accuracy)
  • Sea surface salinity
  • Holey sock drogue centered at 15 m depth
  • Variable sampling rate down to 5 minutes
  • One-year lifespan

> Download technical illustration (325 KB pdf)

Sea Surface Salinity Sensor

The SVP Salinity (SVPS) drifter (Centurioni et al., 2015; Hormann et al., 2014a) stems from the SVP Drifter design and can also be configured with a barometer. It carries a Sea-Bird Electronics SBE37 sensor.

The salinity sensor is located at 0.5 m depth. A slightly bigger drogue is used to compensate for the larger drag area of the surface buoy and the salinity sensor mount combined, as needed to keep the drag-area ratio larger than 40.

The lifespan of the SVPS drifter is shorter than for the SVP and SVPB drifters due to the SBE37, and is about one year.


Centurioni, L.R., V. Hörmann, Y. Chao, G. Reverdin, J. Font, and D.-K. Lee. 2015. Sea surface salinity observations with Lagrangian drifters in the tropical North Atlantic during SPURS: Circulation, fluxes, and comparisons with remotely sensed salinity from Aquarius. Oceanography 28(1):96–105,

Hormann, V., L.R. Centurioni, and G. Reverdin. 2015. Evaluation of drifter salinities in the subtropical North Atlantic. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 32(1):185–192,