Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During June 2016, 335 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys, 45% with
subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents, were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. As seen since April, across much of the basin, a
number of drifters indicated westward anomalies of 40-50 cm/s on and near the
equator. In June, these anomalies were particularly pronounced in the western
part of the basin. In addition, a number of drifters in the region of the
eastward NECC indicated that it was weaker and narrower than normal, associated
with westward anomalies of 30-40 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.