Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During March 2017, 257 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys, 35% with
subsurface drogues attached for measuring mixed layer currents, were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. The drifter array did not reveal any large-scale
current anomalies in the North Pacific. Drifters in the South Equatorial
Current at 15-20S indicated that the current was ~10 cm/s faster than its
climatological March value.
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.