An Experimental Study on the Current-Following Characteristics of a Surface Drifting Buoy


Article Preview

The water-following capabilities of surface drifting buoy are investigated through analyzing the hydrodynamic factors which influence the buoy’s floating, so as to improve the precision of ocean currents measured by drifters, and optimize the design of drifters. The force balance equation of surface drifting buoy is established, and the wind coefficient of drifter model is obtained and analyzed. A prototype based on GPS (Global Positioning System) and BeiDou-1 (BeiDou Satellite Navigation Experimental System) is designed to collect surface currents near Gulf of Jiaozhou. Calculated results indicate that the velocity data, which take the wind coefficient into account, are more approaching the measuring value of fixed current-meter. That provides some experimental validities to the modelling and designing of surface drifting buoy. This study also shows that the surface trajectory from GPS and BeiDou-1 float provides a new means to measure surface circulations in the global ocean at real time, and that the estimated currents could be one of the important sources to improve our understanding for ocean dynamics characteristics.



Advanced Materials Research (Volumes 588-589)

Edited by:

Lawrence Lim




Y. J. Dong et al., "An Experimental Study on the Current-Following Characteristics of a Surface Drifting Buoy", Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 588-589, pp. 1805-1808, 2012

Online since:

November 2012




[1] Niller PP, Davis RE, White HJ. Water-following characteristics of a mixed layer drifter[J]. Deep Sea Research Part A. Oceanographic Research Papers, 1987, 34(11): 1867-1881.


[2] Furnans J, Imberger J, Hodges BR. Including drag and inertia in drifter modelling[J]. Environmental Modelling & Software, 2008, 23(6): 714-728.


[3] Thompson KR, Sheng J, Smith PC, et al. Prediction of surface currents and drifter trajectories on the inner Scotian Shelf[J]. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, 2003, 108(C9): 1-10.


[4] Chunqun J. The design consideration for the environment condition of offshore engineering[J]. China Offshore Platform, 1999, 14(01): 39-43.

[5] Lutian M. Ocean oil-slick movement under the influence of wind[J]. Chinese Journal of Environmental Science, 1990, 11(06): 58-61.