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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.

FIGURE A1.1 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 optimal filter. c) Bottom: Anomalies from the climatological monthly mean currents for this month.

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Page Last Modified: March 2018
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