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1250 days in operation of Iridium Pilot Project SVP-B/RTC/GPS drifter

The cluster of Iridium telemetry equipped barometric drifters was built by Marlin-Yug Ltd for South Africa Weather Service (SAWS) in 2009 as the SAWS input in the DBCP Iridium Pilot Project to study capabilities of Iridium satellite telemetry for data transfer via SBD messages. The SVP-B/RTC/GPS buoy WMO17526/IMEI300034012486510 from this cluster, equipped with GPS, producing hourly locations, was deployed on Nov.11, 2009 in South Atlantic.

The buoy stopped data transfer on Apr.18, 2013 after 1250 days in operation because of getting its battery fully emptied. The buoy had its drogue lost on 597th day after deployment and high quality of air pressure measurements during full lifetime.

Total trajectory of the buoy is showed on the Fig.1 below. The picture has also the fragment of its trajectory, built on basis of hourly GPS locations.

Fig.1 Total trajectory of the SVP-B/RTC/GPS buoy WMO17526/IMEI300034012486510 during its 1250 days in operation

Fig.2 shows that buoy equipped with Iridium/GPS devices provided high level of data continuity under any weather conditions independently of the drogue presence or absence. The loss of hourly locations was 14% maximum under very rough level of waves, while mean level of loss during full lifetime was near 4%. The loss of obserations provided by the buoy was near 1%.

Fig.2 Time intervals distribution of GPS locations (gps) and observations (obs) during lifetime of the buoy WMO17526/IMEI300034012486510

The result of this experiment means that Iridium drifters equipped with GPS have perfect operation and high continuity and timeliness of data under any weather conditions.