Search-and-rescue algorithm identifies hidden “traps” in ocean waters

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 10:21 in Earth & Climate

The ocean is a messy and turbulent space, where winds and weather kick up waves in all directions. When an object or person goes missing at sea, the complex, constantly changing conditions of the ocean can confound and delay critical search-and-rescue operations. Now researchers at MIT, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and Virginia Tech have developed a technique that they hope will help first responders quickly zero in on regions of the sea where missing objects or people are likely to be. The technique is a new algorithm that analyzes ocean conditions such as the strength and direction of ocean currents, surface winds, and waves , and identifies in real-time the most attracting regions of the ocean where floating objects are likely to converge. The team demonstrated the technique in several field experiments in which they deployed drifters and human-shaped manikins in various locations in...

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