Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During August 2015, 387 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys, 70% with
subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents, were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. Across the basin, a number of drifters measured
very strong (~75 cm/s on average) eastward anomalies between the equator and
5N. Elsewhere, large-scale currents were close to their climatological August
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.