Icepod Rosetta



ALAMO Drifters




Science Plan

Antarctic Seasons

ALAMO Drifters

GIS Mapping Tool

Decoding the Data

From the Field:

- State of the Planet Blog

- ESR Blog

-Colorado College Blog

- Nature Blog


Facebook Page

Icepod Instrument

Project Partners:


Colorado College

Earth & Space Research

NYANG 109th


Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory






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ALAMO drifter successfully parachuting to the ocean after being deployed from the LC130 aircraft.

The colored dots are the locations of the ALAMO drifters in the Ross Sea and their pathways as they moved. The drifters are expected to call home data 125-150 times each. From left to right we see 10100 (Snow Petrel), 10101 (Wandering Albatross), 10103 (South Polar Skua), 10102 (Arctic Tern), 10099 (Sooty Shearwater), 10098 (Adleie Penguin)

ALAMO floats or (Air Launched Autonomous Micro Observer) -are instruments used to collect data on ocean circulation. They are the newest of the automonous observers, joining the close to 4000 ARGO floats already deployed from ships in the world's oceans. ALAMO floats are dropped into the ocean from an airplane allowing them to access more difficult to reach areas like sections of the Antarctic Ocean. The floats can be moored or drift. The floats collect data on temperature, salinity, depth and circulation. There are very few placed around Antarctica as collecting data close to the ice is difficult because of the seasonal sea ice (the freezing of the ocean surface) so access is restrictive, and the risk of losing the floats under the ice. The Rosetta project floats will provide critical circulation information that we need at the front of the ice shelf, and will help us model ocean circulation under the shelf.


View this short visualization showing the ocean coverage from drifting autonomous floats. (Source:

The project has six ALAMO floats named after Antarctic seabirds. Each float was dropped into the ocean to collect as much data as it could. Click here for a pptx or pdf to share with students on the ALAMO floats.

Snowy Petrel - Float 10100

(image by Mila Zinkova)

snowy petrel

Adelie Penguin - Float 10098

(image from National Geographic Kids)


Sooty Shearwater Float 10099

(image by JJ Harrison)

Sooty Shearwater

Antarctic Tern - Float 10102

(image by butterfly voyages)


South Polar Skua - Float 10103

(image by Parivi Legovini)


Wandering Albatross - Float 10101 (our only free drifting float)

(image by JJ Harrison)












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Funding to support this project comes from the National Science Foundation and the Moore Foundation.

Moore This project is funded through NSF & The Moore Foundation | contact us | web master
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