New technology could save lives of Great Lakes swimmers

Capital News Service
LANSING — A new Great Lakes study using radar could save swimmers’ lives by enabling the prediction of dangerous currents before they form. “This is the first application of radar technology for actually measuring and detecting rip currents,” said Guy Meadows, director of the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University and a researcher on the project. Rip currents funnel water out toward the lake through a break in a sandbar. They’re the leading cause of swimming deaths in the Great Lakes. The goal of the study is to test how radar can generate data about waves to predict when they form rip currents, said Ron Kinnunen, a Marquette-based fellow researcher and Extension educator for the Michigan Sea Grant, a research, education and outreach agency under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.