Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During January 2016, 382 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys,
85% with subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents,
were reporting from the tropical Pacific. Associated with the ongoing
El Nino, a number of drifters measured exceedingly strong eastward equatorial
anomalies. These anomalies were larger than 1 m/s between the dateline and
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.