SCOPE – Planning and Preparing

SCOPE = Surfzone Coastal Oil Pathways Experiment

A group of researchers within CARTHE are preparing for a nearshore field experiment, which will describe the cross-shore exchange of material between the inner shelf and the surf zone.  How do oil and other toxins move from the Gulf of Mexico onto the beaches of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas?

Dr. Ad Reniers at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) and Dr. Jamie MacMahan at the Naval Postgraduate School are the lead scientists conducting this experiment scheduled for December 2013, at John Beasley Park, Okaloosa Island, FL.

A large scale experiment of this kind requires a great deal of planning to prepare all of the equipment that will be used in the field.  We have spent the last few months acquiring the necessary permits, designing and building drifters, acquiring SPOT satellite contracts for the GPS units which will be attached to our drifters, and coordinating the team and equipment.  In order to collect as much data as possible in this 3 week long scheduled experiment, we plan to use many different tools:

  • Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 4.26.22 PM200+ GPS equipped drifters (including 6 designed and built by Florida High School students) that will float along with the currents


  • Dye experiments – injecting dye into the surfzone to visually see where the currents are going


  • Roving platforms (2 jet-skis and 3 Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 4.26.39 PMsmall boats, 8 CTDs, 7 ADCPs, 13 Dye sensors, Video, wave wires, GPS, turbulence)


  • Aerial Observations (helicopters, drones and balloon-kites equipped with cameras)

Altura aerial vehicle from Aerialtronics