Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During August 2014, 335 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys, 85% with
subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents, were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. Strong westward anomalies in the eastern equatorial
Pacific, seen in June-July, reversed and became strong eastward anomalies in
August. These anomalies were 40-50 cm/s eastward compared to climatological
August values. Drifters deployed in the western tropical Pacific at 6-12N,
155-160E also experienced eastward anomalies, of ~25 cm/s.
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.