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Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys

Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami


During October 2009, 413 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys, 79% with subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents, were reporting from the tropical Pacific. Eastward anomalies of ~20 cm/s were observed by a number of drifters across the basin in the band 0-2S, with large anomalies of both sides superimposed due to the presence of TIWs. Most drifters in the Kuroshio Current and recirculation region measured SST warmer by +0.5 to +3.0C, and many east of 130W in the band 10N-20S measured SST warmer by +0.5 to +1.5C. Elsewhere, drifters across the basin measured SST near normal climatological October values.

FIGURE A1.1 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 1993-2002 (gray), and currents measured by the drogued buoys this month (black) smoothed by an optimal filter. c) Bottom: Anomalies from the climatological monthly mean currents for this month.

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Page Last Modified: November 2009
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