Beachgoers asked to watch for yellow drift cards

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Like a message  drift watch in a bottle, extra than 1,000 shiny yellow glide playing cards had been released into the Gulf of Mexico to song ocean currents. Anybody who reveals one is advised to follow the published guidelines and speak to the Texas A&M University officials in charge of the program. There may want to even be a small present for some lucky finders.

Jeffrey Wade, a member of the Texas A&M University department of oceanography’s flow card team, tosses driftcards into the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Piers Chapman)
Jeffrey Wade, a member of the Texas A&M University branch of oceanography’s float card group, tosses ten go with the flow playing cards into the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Piers Chapman)

“So a long way this yr, we’ve released over 1,000 of these bright yellow three-inch by means of five-inch glide cards fabricated from marine plywood,” said Dr. Piers Chapman, head of Texas A&M’s department of oceanography. “And thus far, we’re thrilled that two hundred had been again, that is a totally excessive fee of go back.”

The look at is designed to song drifting of ability oil spills and to train the public about currents, he said.

“This assignment is a component of a research software — the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative — that funded 8 most important consortia following the British Petroleum Deep Horizon drilling rig blowout in 2010,” Chapman stated. “This is one among several outreach activities. We gets a variety of beneficial records on currents, but we’re interested by producing public hobby in what is going on in our oceans, where matters come to be.”

Since early April, the flow cards have been launched off the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Texas, Chapman said. Another 2,000-three,000 might be launched with the aid of the stop of summer, with a complete of five,000 in the end deployed.

In Texas, the go with the flow cards have been released between Brownsville and Galveston.

“We use research cruises and cruises of possibility to release the flow playing cards,” he said. “Some are launched close to shore and others farther offshore. Those launched closest to the shore normally hit the beach first. Ten are dropped off at every location and that they don’t all go inside the equal route.”

To alert the public in South Texas approximately the task, Tony Reisinger, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for coastal and marine assets in Cameron County, has been posting placards at public regions in Port Isabel and South Padre Island.

Thousands of three through 5-inch, vivid yellow drift playing cards are being released into the Gulf of Mexico to tune currents and engage the public. Anyone finding a card is requested to name the printed phone wide variety. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Piers Chapman)
Thousands of 3 via five-inch, brilliant yellow glide cards are being launched into the Gulf of Mexico to track currents and interact the general public. Anyone locating a card is requested to call the printed phone range. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Piers Chapman)

“It’s charming to study the currents inside the Gulf of Mexico and the position they play in our unique ecology right here,” he stated. “For example, there’s a coastal contemporary that comes up from Mexico. Back in the overdue 1970’s while Ixtoc I blew out inside the Bay of Campeche in Mexico, currents delivered oil ashore here on South Padre Island well into the early 80s. In fact, the Brazos Santiago Pass become boomed off to keep oil out of the bay. So, it’s critical to recognize in which and how Gulf currents waft.”

Those who find yellow flow cards that wash ashore are asked to notice the date, area and time the card changed into discovered. Instructions on the way to report the facts are revealed in both English and Spanish.

“Someone walking alongside a seaside may not recognize their particular place, but if they can inform us inside some miles of in which they’re, as a way to suffice,” Chapman stated. “Anybody who unearths one offshore is requested to name in the information, then go back the card to the water. If they name after commercial enterprise hours, they could go away a message. We make an effort to make contact with all and sundry who calls in.”

A month-to-month drawing of folks who find the playing cards is held to award them a $25 present card.

“The first winner became a girl from Ohio who determined a card even as on excursion in Florida,” he stated.

Each card has a corresponding variety this is used to decide where it was in the beginning released.

One fortunate beachgoer observed a driftcard, a part of a Texas A&M University mission. (Photo courtesy of Amber Collins)
One fortunate beachgoer holds a glide card, a part of a Texas A&M University venture. (Photo courtesy of Amber Collins)

“Ocean currents are because of the rotation of the earth and different factors,” Chapman stated. “They are stimulated through wind styles. If some thing floats, together with oil spills, the currents will circulate it, and it could land up many miles from where it started.”

Of the 2 hundred float cards amassed so far, now not all have been analyzed but, but most have ended up wherein they were predicted to, based totally on present day information of ocean currents, Chapman said.

The vicinity of wherein the cards were deployed and observed may be tracked at the Gulf Integrated Spill Response Consortium website at http://gisr.Tamu.Edu.

“We will respect human beings’s privacy, however if we’re given permission, we will subsequently post on our internet site the photos of the those who locate go with the flow playing cards,” Chapman said.

Rod Santa Ana
956-878-8317
r-santaana@tamu.Edu
Rod Santa Ana is a veteran journalist, having started his profession in radio in 1976, moved to television information in 1980 and in 1988 became a member of the Texas A&M AgriLife Communications team. He and his spouse, Norma, stay in McAllen, Texas.
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