Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During March 2015, 353 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys, 87% with
subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents, were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. As seen in February, several drifters near the
equator west of the dateline indicated very strong eastward anomalies of >50
cm/s, indicating eastward displacement of water from the western Pacific warm
pool. Elsewhere, currents were close to their climatological March values.
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.