A four-year project examining currents flowing off the Outer Banks could help with issues ranging from search and rescue to the best time for fishing.

The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Virginia reports the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography is working on the project, which studies the relationship between the continental shelf and deep ocean.

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Skidaway spokesman Michael Sullivan says the National Science Foundation awarded a $5 million grant to fund the effort called Processes driving Exchange At Cape Hatteras. Preliminary work began last year.

Team leader Dana Savidge says researchers chose Hatteras Island because two deep-ocean currents collide there.

The team is using a variety of instruments to transmit and receive electronic signals that measure surface and deep currents, wave action, salinity, winds and temperature, among other things.

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