Instrument: Drifter Buoy

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Drifting buoys are free drifting platforms with a float or buoy that keep the drifter at the surface and underwater sails or socks that catch the current. These instruments sit at the surface of the ocean and are transported via near-surface ocean currents. They are not fixed to the ocean bottom, therefore they "drift" with the currents. For this reason, these instruments are referred to as drifters, or drifting buoys.

The surface float contains sensors that measure different parameters, such as sea surface temperature, barometric pressure, salinity, wave height, etc. Data collected from these sensors are transmitted to satellites passing overhead, which are then relayed to land-based data centers.

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