Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During January 2021, 223 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys were
reporting from the tropical Pacific. As in December, strong eastward anomalies
were seen by a few drifters along 100-140W, 2-5N, but it is unclear if these
were due to instability waves or broader-scale circulation anomalies.
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.