Tropical Pacific Drifting Buoys
Rick Lumpkin / Mayra Pazos, AOML, Miami
During May 2018, 272 satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys were reporting
from the tropical Pacific. The drifter array indicated strong eastward
anomalies of 20-30 cm/s in the NECC at several locations across the basin,
indicating that the current was stronger and shifted further south of its
climatological May position. Elsewhere, currents were close to their
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.