Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During October 2014, 357 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys, 84% with
subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents, were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. The strong eastward anomalies in the eastern
equatorial Pacific, seen in August and September, were no longer present in
October: in the well-sampled eastern tropical Pacific, all major currents were
close to their climatological October strengths. A few drifters in the
western tropical Pacific suggested very strong (>50 cm/s) eastward anomalies
at 4-5N, but denser sampling would be required to verify the robustness and
zonal extent of this anomaly
a) Top: Movements of drifting buoys in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
The linear segments of each trajectory represent a one week displacement.
Trajectories of buoys which have lost their subsurface drogues are gray; those with
drogues are blue.
b) Middle: Monthly mean currents calculated from all buoys 1993-2010 (gray),
and currents measured by the drogued buoys this month (black) smoothed by an
c) Bottom: Anomalies from the climatological monthly mean currents for this month.