Research team studies local currents
The News Herald
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
by Tom McLAUGHLIN
OKALOOSA ISLAND — Equipped with dyes, drones and drifters, a team from the University of Miami has arrived in Okaloosa County to study coastal currents and their possible effects on the dispersal of oil and other water-borne pollutants.
The ultimate goal is to learn more about how items in the water “get outside of the surge zone and onto the beaches,” said Tamay Ozgokmen, the study team’s principal researcher.
“We’re hoping that in the event of another unfortunate crisis like an oil spill, we can better predict where things will end up and help first responders get where they need to be,” Ozgokmen said.
The three-year study is being paid for with $15.3 million of a $500 million fund set aside by BP after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
To conduct the experiments, the team is releasing drifters — GPS-equipped buoys — in local waters. They then track them using newfangled drones and less