Globalstar Helps CARTHE Track Currents In Gulf of Mexico

Satellite Company Provides UM-Led Research Team with SPOT Satellite GPS Messengers™ to Complete Unprecedented Oceanic Flow Study in Area of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The state of the GLAD drifter array after three months of being released in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill region. The red dots mark the latest positions and the tails are two weeks long. The background is the sea surface temperature from MODIS. (Image credit: Edward Ryan and Tamay Ozgokmen)

COVINGTON, La. — November 16, 2012 — Globalstar Inc. (NASDAQ: GSAT), announced a partnership with the University of Miami (UM) to complete the Grand Lagrangian Deployment (GLAD), the largest research expedition studying ocean surface flow in the Gulf of Mexico to-date. Since summer 2012, researchers have placed more than 300 SPOT Satellite GPS Messengersª into the Gulf with uninterrupted high-frequency tracking service. The Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment, funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, intends to use the collected data to explain ocean flow as it relates to the dispersion of pollutants and the effects of hurricanes on the dissemination of environmental hazards over time.

“In light of the Deepwater Horizon incident and Hurricane Isaac, SPOT has transmitted groundbreaking data that may tell us how pollutants behave in normal and hurricane conditions,” said UM Professor and CARTHE Director Dr. Tamay Özgökmen. “Oceanographers have never released 300 drifters at once. We did this in the area near the Deepwater Horizon and measured where and how fast the drifters moved, using high-precision tracking devices. This novel approach to understanding the region’s unique ocean surface currents has implications for emergency responders and managers in the event of another oil spill, as well as human and environmental health.”

In order to study the complex currents near the Deepwater Horizon oil spill area, SPOT devices were mounted inside drifters that floated just below the ocean’s surface. CARTHE researchers want to understand how the Gulf’s flow may impact the transport of oil or pollutants along the surface of the ocean, particularly near coastal areas, which are especially vulnerable.

“The success of this study is largely due to quality and technology offered by the SPOT devices, which are providing our scientists better insight into how pollutant patches spread in the ocean,” said Ozgökmen. “Our custom-made ocean drifters had to be lightweight, low-cost and reliable. We couldn’t find a similar product that could match the price, size, battery life, reliability, transmission frequency and tracking accuracy of SPOT.”

In three months, SPOT devices have provided researchers close to 5 million data transmissions on ocean circulation patterns at a scope and rate that is virtually unparalleled. Every five minutes, the devices relay GPS coordinates with an accuracy of within four meters. Other devices typically send tracking coordinates every 30 minutes.

Özgökmen, Lead GLAD Scientist Dr. Brian Haus, and other CARTHE researchers from more than 12 institutions will use the data gathered from the SPOT devices through the Globalstar satellite network units to gain better insights into how oceanic flows transport pollutants. The data is being used to improve state-of-the-art ocean forecast models, which will provide more accurate predictions of where the oil may go and how fast it will get there.

“Globalstar is delighted that SPOT’s GPS tracking services are being utilized as part of such an innovative research project that will have a significant impact on society and the environment,” said Bob Bennett, a spokesperson for the Gulf Coast-based satellite communications company.

SPOT devices are rugged, pocket-sized devices that use satellite messaging technology to allow users to communicate from remote locations around the globe. The SPOT product family uses the GPS satellite network to determine a customer's location and to the Globalstar network of satellites to transmit messages and GPS coordinates to others, independent of cellular phone coverage or radio frequency range. As a result, SPOT devices fulfill a variety of purposes including emergency services, recreational tracking and scientific studies.

About Globalstar Inc.
Globalstar is a leading provider of mobile satellite voice and data services. Globalstar offers these services to commercial customers and recreational consumers in more than 120 countries around the world. The Company's products include mobile and fixed satellite telephones, simplex and duplex satellite data modems, the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger and flexible service packages. Many land based and maritime industries benefit from Globalstar with increased productivity from remote areas beyond cellular and landline service. Global customer segments include: oil and gas, government, mining, forestry, commercial fishing, utilities, military, transportation, heavy construction, emergency preparedness, and business continuity as well as individual recreational users. Globalstar data solutions are ideal for various asset and personal tracking, data monitoring and SCADA applications. All SPOT products described in this press release are the products of Spot LLC, which is not affiliated in any manner with Spot Image of Toulouse, France or Spot Image Corporation of Chantilly, Virginia.

For more information regarding Globalstar, please visit Globalstar’s web site at

About the Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE)
The goal of the UM-led team is to accurately predict the fate of hydrocarbons found in crude oil that were released into the environment, helping to guide risk management and response efforts to minimize damage to human health, the economy and the ecosystem. The CARTHE project includes twenty-six principal investigators from twelve research institutions in eight states.Partners in this activity include scientists from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, City University of New York - Staten Island, Florida International University, Florida State University, Naval Postgraduate School, Naval Research Laboratory, Nova Southeastern University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Tulane University, University of Arizona, University of Delaware and University of Texas at Austin. Together these scientists are developing a suite of integrated models and state-of-the-art data assimilation that bridge the gap between existing models and natural processes. This research project was made possible by a grant from The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), a 10-year, $500 million independent research program established by an agreement between BP and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) to study the effects of the Deepwater Horizon incident and the potential associated impact of this and similar incidents on the environment and public health.

carthe •  tamay ozgokmen •  oil spill •  global change •