The development of devices to measure surface currents over the deep sea have not been followed by a similar drifter development for nearshore dynamics (read here: Surface drifters...a bit of history). To our knowledge, the WAVY drifter is one of the few drifters specifically designed to carry out measurements in the nearshore and surf zone. It is a product being developed by the MELOA project, with its foundations in earlier work under the RAIA Regional Oceanographic Observatory in Northwestern Iberia.
Intended to be a low-cost device once manufactured in an adequate production line, the WAVY drifter is a lightweight and easy-to-use store and transport surface drifter. The WAVY drifter is being developed in a range of different configurations (the WAVY family): WAVY Basic, WAVY Littoral and WAVY Ocean, each with specific applications in mind.
The WAVY Littoral is one of the surface drifters from the WAVY family designed specifically to collect marine data on coastal and nearshore zones with the purpose to cover current marine observation gaps. It allows the estimation of wave parameters including height, period, and direction. These data can be used to construct a set of wave parameters fields, from which a map of isobaths may be derived. Its combined trajectory/wave data acquisition provides invaluable data to fully describe rip and littoral drift currents and their relation to the sea state, lenghts scales, bathymetry and others factors.
The WAVY Littoral may be used to study processes at beaches, estuaries and tidally-driven lagoons. Its spherical shape allows it to re-float after stranding, while its optimized buoyancy reduces wind exposure to a minimum. It is not insensitive to Stokes drift but, while this sensitivity is nearly irrelevant in nearshore or inshore areas, it may represent an advantage when attempting to track the evolution of an oil spill.
The MELOA team is currently deploying the WAVY drifters to validate and implement use cases! If you have a potential application for the WAVY Littoral that you would like to try out, please get in touch!
For more, see the WAVY Littoral data sheet below:
Stay tuned for more!