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Every year the U.S. Coast Guard spends over 50,000 hours on search and rescue at sea, saving thousands and thousands of lives. Both planes and boats are used to look for lost people. But what is the best way to predict where people might be? 

We came up with a new method of using information about the ocean to help rescuers find missing people. We found regions of the sea that act like attracting magnets, pulling objects towards them. These attractors can be identified in real time and turned into maps. We used manikins and buoys to test how well these maps could predict where objects will drift.

We found that our new method could quickly and accurately help to find people lost at sea! 

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About this article

Reading level
Scientific topic
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
Type of figure
Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
November 2020

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