Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During February 2018, 1459 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys were
reporting from the tropical Pacific. The drifter array revealed strong
Tropical Instability Waves at 90-100W, and westward aomalies of ~20 cm/s at
130-140W, 10N. West of 160E near and south of the equator, four drifters
indicated very strong (>40 cm/s) eastward 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.