Environmental Data Server
About the Data

Global Lagrangian Drifter Data

Satellite-tracked drifting buoys ("drifters") collect measurements of upper ocean currents and sea surface temperatures (SST) around the world as part of the Global Drifter Program.


Drifter locations are estimated from 16-20 satellite fixes per day, per drifter. The Drifter Data Assembly Center (DAC) at NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) assembles these raw data, applies quality control procedures, and interpolates them via kriging to regular six-hour intervals. The raw observations and processed data are archived at AOML and at the Marine Environmental Data Services (MEDS) in Canada.


Two types of data are available: "metadata" contains deployment location and time, time of drogue (sea anchor) loss, date of final transmission, etc. for each drifter. "Interpolated data" contains the quality-controlled, interpolated drifter observations.


Data Availability

Observation Dates: 1979/02/15 to 2013/09/30
Geographical Coordinates: latitude [90,-74] and longitude [-180,180]