Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During April 2013, 311 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys, 87% with
subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents, were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. Few drifters reported from near the equator except
in the far eastern basin, east of 110W, where they measured large eastward
anomalies of ~50 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.