A GPS-Tracked Surf Zone Drifter* Academic Article uri icon


  • A drifter designed to measure surf zone circulation has been developed and field tested. Drifter positions accurate to within a few meters are estimated in real time at 0.1 Hz using the global positioning system (GPS) and a shore-to-drifter radio link. More accurate positions are estimated at 1 Hz from postprocessed, internally logged data. Mean alongshore currents estimated from trajectories of the 0.5-m-draft drifters in 1-2-m water depth agree well with measurements obtained with nearby, bottom-mounted, acoustic current meters. Drifters deployed near the base of a well-developed rip current often followed eddylike paths within the surf zone before being transported seaward.

publication date

  • July 2003