Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During June 2014, 337 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys, 91% with
subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents, were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. The strong eastward anomalies seen in the eastern
equatorial Pacific reversed in June, with a monthly average of as much as
50 cm/s westward compared to climatological June values. Not enough drifters
were located in the western near-equatorial Pacific to determine the zonal
extent of these anomalies. At higher latitudes, currents were near their
climatological June strengths.
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.