Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During January 2014, 233 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys, 86% with
subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents, were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. In the eastern tropics at 0-4N, the drifters
measured eastward anomalies of 10-30 cm/s that indicated a stronger than usual
NECC and weaker than usual NEC, a pattern also seen last month. Elsewhere,
anomalies were weaker or the drifters did not sample.
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.