Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During March 2018, 257 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. The drifter array did not reveal any large-scale
current anomalies in the basin, except for four drifters in the far western
part of the array near 160E, 6N that ehibited large eastward anomalies.
Because these drifters were very close, independent observations are needed
to evaluate the scale over which these anomalies were distributed.
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.