Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During February 2023, 161 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys
were reporting from the tropical Pacific. Eastward anomalies of up to 30 cm/s
were measured by several drifters east of the dateline in the North Equatorial
Countercurrent (NECC) at 6-7 N across the eastern half of the basin, indicating
an acceleration of the eastward NECC that has persisted since November 2022.
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.