Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During October 2016, 307 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys, 43% with
subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents, were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. As in August and September, the drifter array did
not reveal any large-scale current anomalies in the basin during this time.
A few drifters in the eastern equatorial region (100-120W) experienced very
strong anomalies possibly related to equatorial or tropical wave activity.
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.