National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Physical Oceanography Division

Dr. Rick Lumpkin


4301 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, FL 33149, USA
Phone: (305) 361-4513

Research Interests

  • Ocean transport and mixing, from submesoscale to global scale.
  • Seasonal to decadal-scale ocean circulation changes, typically using a synthesis of in-situ and remove observations.
  • Pathways and mechanisms of the global thermohaline circulation.

Current Work

Rick Lumpkin manages AOML's component of NOAA's Global Drifter Program, part of an international effort to maintain a global network of surface drifting buoys for climate and weather research, monitoring and prediction. Lumpkin serves on several panels and working groups of the Data Buoy Cooperation Panel, an international program of the World Meteorological Organization and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission that coordinates the use of data buoys to observe the atmosphere and ocean conditions, over ocean areas where few other measurements are taken. He is also a Principal Investigator of the PIRATA Northeast Extension, a joint AOML/PMEL project to observe and better understand climate fluctuations in the central and northeastern Tropical Atlantic, and a memeber of the PIRATA Science Steering Group. He also serves on NOAA's panel.

Peer-Reviewed Publications:


Accepted/In Press

Laurindo, L. C., A. Mariano, and R. Lumpkin: An improved surface velocity climatology for the global ocean from drifter observations. Deep-Sea Res. I accepted April 2017.


Beron-Vera, J., J. Olascoaga, and R. Lumpkin, 2017: Inertia-induced accumulation of flotsam in the subtropical gyres. Geophys. Res. Lett., 43 (23), 12228-12233.

Centurioni, L., A. Horanyi, C. Cardinali, E. Charpentier and R. Lumpkin: A Global Observing System for Measuring Sea Level Atmospheric Pressure: Effects and Impacts on Numerical Weather Prediction. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 98 (2), 231-238.

Volkov, D., S.-K. Lee, W. Landerer, and R. Lumpkin: Decade-long deep-ocean warming detected in the subtropical South Pacific. Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 927-936.


Elipot, S., R. Lumpkin, R. Perez, J. Lilly, J. Early, and A. Sykulski: A global surface drifter data set at hourly resolution. J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 121 (5), 2937-2966.

Kourafalou, V. H., Y. S. Androulidakis, G. Halliwell, H. Kang, M. Mehari, M. Le Henaff, R. Atlas, and R. Lumpkin, 2016: North Atlantic Ocean OSSE system development: Nature Run evaluation and application to hurricane interaction with the Gulf Stream. Progress in Oceanography, 148, 1-25.

Lumpkin, R., 2016: Global Characteristics of Coherent Vortices from Surface Drifter Trajectories. J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 121, 1306-1321.

Lumpkin, R., L. Centurioni and R. C. Perez, 2016: Fulfilling Observing System Implementation Requirements with the Global Drifter Array. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technolog., 33, 685-695,

Lumpkin R., G. Goni and K. Dohan: State of the Ocean in 2015: Surface Currents. In "State of the Climate in 2015", Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 97 (8): S82-S84, ed. G. C. Johnson and A. R. Parsons.

Lumpkin R., T. Ozgokmen, and L. Centurioni, 2016: Advances in the applications of surface drifters. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci., 9, 59-81.

Putman, N. F., R. Lumpkin, A. E. Sacco, and K. L. Mansfield: Passive drift or active swimming in marine organisms? Proceedings R. Soc. B., 283, 20161689.


Dohan, K., G. Goni, and R. Lumpkin, 2015: State of the Ocean in 2014: Surface Currents. In "State of the Climate in 2014", Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., ed. G. Johnson and R. Parsons.

Dong, S., G. Goni, and R. Lumpkin, 2015: Mixed-layer salinity budget in the SPURS (Salinity Processes in the Upper ocean Regional Study) region on seasonal to interannual time scales. Oceanography, 28(1), 28-35.

Foltz, G. R., C. Schmid, and R. Lumpkin, 2015: Transport of surface freshwater from the equatorial to the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 45(4).

Legler, D., H. J. Freeland, R. Lumpkin, G. Ball, M. J. McPhaden, S. North, R. Cowley, G. Goni, U. Send and M. Merrifield, 2015: The current status of the real-time in situ global ocean observing system for operational oceanography. J. Operational Oceanogr., 8 (S2), 189-200.

Peng, S., Y.-K. Qian, R. Lumpkin , Y. Du, D. Wang, and P. Li, 2015: Characteristics of the near-surface currents in the Indian Ocean as deduced from satellite-tracked surface drifters. Part I: Pseudo-Eulerian statistics. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 45(2), 441-458.

Peng, S., Y.-K. Qian, R. Lumpkin , P. Li, D. Wang, and Y. Du, 2014: Characteristics of the near-surface currents in the Indian Ocean as deduced from satellite-tracked surface drifters. Part II: Lagrangian statistics. J. Phys.Oceanogr., 45(2), 459-477.

Perez, R. C., M. O. Baringer, S. Dong, S. L. Garzoli, M. Goes, G. J. Goni, R. Lumpkin, C. S. Meinen, R. Msadek and U. Rivero, 2015: Measuring the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Marine Technology Science Journal, 49(2), 167-177.

Reverdin, G. et al., 2015: Surface Salinity in the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre during the STRASSE/SPURS Summer 2012 Cruise. Oceanography, 28(1), 114-123.

van Sebille, E., S. Waterman, A. Barthel, R. Lumpkin, S. Keating, C. Fogwill and C. Turney, 2015: Pairwise surface drifter separation in the Western Pacific Sector of the Southern Ocean. J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 120, 6769-6781.

Volkov, D., A. A Kubryakov and R. Lumpkin, 2015: Formation and variability of the Lofoten Basin vortex in a high-resolution ocean model. Deep-Sea Res. I, 105, 142-157.


Fox-Kemper, B., R. Lumpkin and F. Bryan, 2014: Lateral Transport in the Ocean. Chapter 8 of Ocean Circulation and Climate, 2nd Ed. A 21st century perspective", ed. G. Siedler, S. Griffies, J. Gould and J. Church, Academic Press, pp.185-205, doi:1.1016/B978-0-12-391851-2.00008-8.

Lumpkin R., G. Goni and K. Dohan, 2014: State of the Ocean in 2013: Surface Currents. In "State of the Climate in 2013", Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 95, S1–S279, ed. J. Blunden and D. S. Arndt,

Le Henaff, M., V. H. Kourafaloua, R. Dussurget, R. Lumpkin, 2014. Cyclonic activity in the eastern Gulf of Mexico: Characterization from along-track altimetry and in situ drifter trajectories. Progress in Oceanography, 120, 120-138, doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2013.08.002

Maximenko, N., R. Lumpkin and L. Centurioni: Ocean Surface Circulation. Chapter 12 of "Ocean Circulation and Climate", 2nd Ed. A 21st century perspective;, ed. G. Siedler, S. Griffies,J. Gould and J. Church, Academic Press, pp.283-300, doi:1.1016/B978-0-12-391851-2.000012.X.

Perez, R., V. Hormann, R. Lumpkin, P. Brandt, W. E. Johns, F. Hernandez, C. Schmid and B. Bourlès, 2014: Mean meridional currents in the central and eastern equatorial Atlantic. Climate Dynamics, 43, 2943-2962,

Qian, Y.-K., S. Peng, R. Lumpkin, Y. Du, D. Wang and P. Li, 2014: On the Estimation of Lagrangian Diffusivity: Influence of Nonstationary Mean Flow. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 44, 2796–2811,

Smith, R., E. Johns, G. J. Goni, J. Trinanes, R.Lumpkin, A. M. Wood, C. R. Kelble, S. R. Cummings, J. T. Lamkin and S. Privoznik: Oceanographic conditions in the Gulf of Mexico in July 2010, during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Continental Shelf Research, 77, 118-131.


Beal, L., V. Hormann, R. Lumpkin and G. R. Foltz: The surface monsoon circulation of the Arabian Sea. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 43 (9), 2008-2022,doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00037.1.

Foltz, G. R., C. Schmid and R. Lumpkin: Seasonal cycle of the mixed layer heat budget in the northeastern tropical Atlantic Ocean.J. Climate, 26,8169-8188, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00037.1.

Hormann, V., R. Lumpkin and R. C. Perez: A generalized method for estimating the structure of the equatorial Atlantic cold tongue: application to drifter observations. J. Atmos. Oceanic Techn., 30, 1884-1895, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-12-00173.1.

Howard, J. et al., 2013: Oceans and Marine Resources in a Changing Climate. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, 51, 71-192.

Letscher, R. T., D. A. Hansell, C. A. Carlson and R. Lumpkin, 2013: Dissolved organic nitrogen in the global surface ocean: distribution and fate. Global Biogeochem. Cycles,21 (1), 141-153 doi:10.1029/2012GB004449.

Lumpkin, R. and G. Johnson: Global Ocean Surface Velocities from Drifters: Mean, Variance, ENSO Response, and Seasonal Cycle. J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 118 (6), 2992-3006, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20210.

Lumpkin R., G. Goni and K. Dohan, 2013: State of the Ocean in 2012: Surface Currents. In "State of the Climate in 2012", Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 94 (8), August 2013.

Lumpkin, R., S. Grodsky, M.-H. Rio, L. Centurioni, J. Carton and D. Lee, 2013: Removing spurious low-frequency variability in surface drifter velocities. J. Atmos. Oceanic Techn., 30 (2), 353-360, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-12-00139.1

Lumpkin, R. and P. Flament, 2013: On the extent and energetics of the Hawaiian Lee Countercurrent. Oceanography, 26 (1), 58-65.

Perez, R., V. Hormann, R. Lumpkin, P. Brandt, W. E.Johns, F. Hernandez, C. Schmid and B. Bourles: Mean meridional currents in the central and eastern equatorial Atlantic. Climate Dynamics,


Foltz, G. R., M.J. McPhaden and R. Lumpkin, 2012: A strong Atlantic Meridional Mode event in 2009: the role of mixed layer dynamics. J. Climate, 25, 363-380, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00150.1.

Hormann, V., R. Lumpkin and G. Foltz, 2012: Interannual North Equatorial Countercurrent Variability and its Relation to Tropical Atlantic Climate Modes. J. Geophys. Res., 117, C04035, doi:10.1029/2011JC007697.

Lumpkin R., G. Goni and K. Dohan, 2012: State of the Ocean in 2011: Surface Currents. In "State of the Climate in 2011", M. Gregg and J. Levy (eds), Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 93 (7), S75-S78.

Lumpkin, R., N. Maximenko and M. Pazos, 2012: Evaluating where and why drifters die. J. Atmos. Ocean. Techn., 29 (2), 300-308, doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-11-00100.1.

Perez, R. C., R. Lumpkin, W. E. Johns, G. R. Foltz and V. Hormann, 2012: Interannual variations of Atlantic tropical instability waves. J. Geophys. Res., 117, C03011, doi: 10.1029/2011JC007584.


Dong, C., Y. Liu, R. Lumpkin, M. Lankhorst, D. Chen, J. McWilliams and Y. Guan, 2011: A Scheme to Identify Loops from Trajectories of Oceanic Surface Drifters: Application to the Kuroshio Extension Region. J. Atmos. Ocean. Techn., 28, 1167-1176, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-10-05028.1.

Grodsky, S., R. Lumpkin and J. Carton, 2011:Spurious trends in global surface drifter currents. Geophys. Res. Letters, 38, L10606, doi:10.1029/2011GL047393.

Lumpkin R., G. Goni and K. Dohan, 2011: State of the Ocean in 2010: Surface Currents. In "State of the Climate in 2010", J. Blunden, D. S. Arndt and M. O. Baringer (eds), Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 92, S92-S95.

Lumpkin, R. and S. L. Garzoli, 2011: Interannual to Decadal Variability in the Southwestern Atlantic's Surface Circulation. J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 116, C01014, doi:10.1029/2010JC006285.

Nalli, N. R., E. Joseph, V. Morris, C. Barnet, W. Wolf, D. Wolfe, P. J. Minnett, M. Szczodrak, M. Izaguirre, R. Lumpkin, H. Xie, A. Smirnov and J. Wei, 2011: Multi-year observations of the tropical Atlantic atmosphere: Multidisciplinary applications of the NOAA Aerosols and Ocean Science Expeditions (AEROSE). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 92, 765-789, doi: 10.1175/2011BAMS2997.1.


Brassington, G. B., N. Summons and R. Lumpkin, 2010: Observed and simulated Lagrangian and eddy characteristics of the East Australian Sea and Tasman Sea. Deep-Sea Res. II, 58, 559-573, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.10.001.

Brandt, P., V. Hormann, A. Kortzinger, M. Visbeck, G. Krahmann, L. Stramma, R. Lumpkin and C. Schmid, 2010: Changes in the ventilation of the oxygen minimum zone of the tropical North Atlantic. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 40 (8), 1784-1801, doi:10.1175/2010JPO4301.1.

Elipot, S., R. Lumpkin and G. Prieto, 2010: Modification of inertial oscillations by the mesoscale eddy field. J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 115, C09010, 20 pp, doi:10.1029/2009JC005679.

Lumpkin, R. and S. Elipot, 2010: Surface Drifter Pair Spreading in the North Atlantic. J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 115, C12017, doi:10.1029/2010JC006338.

Lumpkin R., G. Goni and K. Dohan, 2010: State of the Ocean in 2009: Surface Currents. In "State of the Climate in 2009", D. S. Arndt, M. O. Baringer and M. R. Johnson (eds), Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 91, S65-S66.


Casal, T., L. Beal, R. Lumpkin and W. Johns, 2009: Structure and downstream evolution of the Agulhas Current system during a quasi-synoptic survey in February-March 2003. J. Geophysical Res., 114(C3):C03001, doi:10.1029/2008JC004954.

Dohan, K., Lagerloef, G, Bonjean, F., Centurioni, L., Cronin, M., Lee, D., Lumpkin, R., Maximenko, N, and Uchida, H, 2009:Measuring the global ocean surface circulation with satellite and in situ observations. OceanObs'09 CWP-2B-06.

Goni, G., DeMaria, M., Knaff, J., Sampson, C., Price, J., Mehra, A., Ginis, I., Lin, I-I., Sandery, P., Ramos-Buarque, S., Ali, M.M., Kang, K.R., Lumpkin, R., Halliwell, G., Lauer, C., Bringas, F., and Mavume, A., 2009: The ocean observing system for tropical cyclone intensification forecasts and studies. OceanObs`09 CWP-3C-01.

Lumpkin R., G. Goni, and K. Dohan, 2009: State of the Ocean in 2008: Surface Currents. In "State of the Climate in 2008", T. Peterson and M. Baringer (eds), Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 90, S12-S15.

Marshall, J., W. Dewar, J. Edson, R. Ferrari, D. Fratantoni, M. Gregg, T. Joyce, K. Kelly, R. Lumpkin, R. Samelson, E. Skyllingstad, F. Straneo, L. Talley, J. Toole and R. Weller, 2009: The CLIMODE Field Campaign: Observing the Cycle of Convection and Restratification over the Gulf Stream. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Sept 2009, 1114, doi:10.1175/2009BAMS2706.1.

McPhaden, M. J., K. Ando, B. Bourles, H. P. Freitag, R. Lumpkin, Y. Masumoto, V. S. N. Murty, P. Nobre, M. Ravichandran, J. Vialard, D. Vousden, and W. Yu, 2009: The Global Tropical Moored Buoy Array. OceanObs`09 CWP-2A-10.

Roemmich D., L. Boehme, H. Claustre, H. Freeland, M. Fukasawa, G. J. Goni, W.J. Gould, N. Gruber, M. Hood, E. Kent, R. Lumpkin, S. Smith and P. Testor, 2010: Intergrating the Ocean Observing System: Mobile Platforms. OceanObs`09 CWP.

Talley, L., R. Fine, R. Lumpkin, N. Maximenko and R. Marrow, 2009: Surface circulation and ventilation. OceanObs`09 CWP.

Zhang, H.-M., R.W. Reynolds, R. Lumpkin, R. Molinari, K. Arzayus, M. Johnson, and T.M. Smith, 2009: An Integrated Global Ocean Observing System for Sea Surface Temperature Using Satellites and In situ Data: Research-to-Operations. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 90(1), 31-38.


Bourles, B., R. Lumpkin, M. J. McPhaden, F. Hernandez, P. Nobre, E. Campos, L. Yu, S. Planton, A. J. Busalacchi, A. D. Moura, J. Servain and J. Trotte, 2008: The PIRATA Program: History, Accomplishments, and Future Directions. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 89(8), doi: 10.1175/2008BAMS2462.1.

Elipot, S. and R. Lumpkin, 2008: Spectral description of oceanic near-surface variability. Geophys. Res. Letters, L05605, doi:10.1029/2007GL032874.

Griffa, A., R. Lumpkin and M. Veneziani, 2008: Cyclonic and anticyclonic motion in the upper ocean. Geophys. Res. Letters, 35, L01608, doi:10.1029/2007GL032100.

Lumpkin, R. and G. Goni, 2008: State of the Ocean in 2007: Surface Currents. In "State of the Climate in 2007", Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 89.

Lumpkin, R., K. Speer and K. P. Koltermann, 2008: Transport across 48N in the Atlantic Ocean. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 38 (4), 733-752.

Sallee, J-B., K. Speer, R. Morrow and R. Lumpkin, 2008: An estimate of Lagrangian eddy statistics and diffusion in the mixed layer of the Southern Ocean. J. Marine Res., 66(4), 441-463.


Lumpkin, R. and K. Speer, 2007: Global Ocean Meridional Overturning. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 37 (10), 2550-2562, doi:10.1175/JPO3130.1.

Lumpkin, R. and G. Goni, 2007: State of the Ocean in 2006: Surface Currents. In "State of the Climate in 2006", ed. A. Arguez, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 88 (6), June 2007.

Lumpkin, R. and M. Pazos, 2007: Measuring surface currents with Surface Velocity Program drifters: the instrument, its data, and some recent results. Chapter 2 of "Lagrangian Analysis and Prediction of Coastal and Ocean Dynamics", ed. A. Griffa, A. D. Kirwan, A. Mariano, T. Ozgokmen and T. Rossby, Cambridge University Press.


Casal, T., L. Beal and R. Lumpkin, 2006: A North Atlantic Deep Water eddy in the Agulhas Current System. Deep-Sea Res. I 53 (10), 1718-1728, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2006.08.007.

Lumpkin, R. and G. Goni, 2006: State of the Ocean in 2005: Surface Currents: State of the Climate in 2005", ed. K. A. Shein, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 87 (6), June 2006.

Morris, V., P. Clemente-Colon, N. R. Nalli, E. Joseph, R. A. Armstrong, Y. Detres, M. D. Goldberg, P. J. Minnett and R. Lumpkin, 2006: Measuring Trans-Atlantic Aerosol Transport from Africa. EOS 87 (50), 12 Dec.


Lumpkin, R. and Z. Garraffo, 2005: Evaluating the decomposition of tropical Atlantic drifter observations. J. Atmos. Ocean. Techn., 22 (9), 1403-1415, doi: 10.1175/JTECH1793.1.

Lumpkin, R. and S. L. Garzoli, 2005: Near-surface circulation in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Deep-Sea Research, Part I, 52(3), 495-518, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2004.09.001


Chavanne, C., P. Flament, R. Lumpkin, B. Dousset and A. Bentamy, 2002: Scatterometer Observations of Wind Variations Induced by Oceanic Islands: Implications for Wind-Driven Ocean Circulation. Can. J. Remote Sens., 28, 466-474.

Flament, P., R. Lumpkin, J. Tournadre and L. Armi, 2001: Vortex pairing in an unstable anticyclonic shear flow: discrete subharmonics of one pendulum day. J. Fluid Mech., 440, 401-409.

Lumpkin, R., 2003: Decomposition of surface drifter observations in the Atlantic Ocean. Geophys. Res. Letters, 30, 1753.

Lumpkin, R. and K. Speer, 2003. Large-scale Vertical and Horizontal Circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean.J. Phys. Oceanogr., 33 (9), 1902-1920.

Lumpkin, R., A.-M. Treguier and K. Speer, 2002: Lagrangian eddy scales in the northern Atlantic Ocean. J. Phys. Ocean., 32, 2425-2440.

Lumpkin, R. and P. Flament, 2001: Lagrangian statistics in the central North Pacific. J. Marine Systems, 29, 141-155.

Lumpkin, R., P. Flament, R. Kloosterziel and L. Armi, 2000: Vortex merging in a 1 1/2-layer fluid on an f plane. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 30 (1), 233-242.

Qiu, B., D. Koh, R. Lumpkin and P. Flament, 1997: Existence and Formation Mechanism of the North Hawaiian Ridge Current. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 27, 431-444.

Seki, M., R. Lumpkin and P. Flament, 2002: Hawaiian Cyclonic Eddies and Blue Marlin Catches: The Case Study of the 1995 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. J. Oceanogr., 58(5), 739-745.

Selected non-refereed Publications

Lumpkin, R., K. Dohan, M. Baringer, L. Centurioni, M. Cronin, G. Goni, G. Lagerloef, D. Lee and N. Maximenko, 2012: Observing the Global Ocean Surface Circulation. Community White Paper for the Integrated Ocean Observing System Summit.

Bourles, B., P. Brandt, G. Caniaux, M. Dengler, Y. Gouriou, E. Key, R. Lumpkin, F. Marin, R.L. Molinari, and C. Schmid, 2007: African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA): Special measurements in the tropical Atlantic. CLIVAR Exchanges, 41(12), 2, 7-9.

Lumpkin, R., 2007: Water movement - Circulation. In Hidden Depths: Atlas of the Oceans. Collins Press, produced by NOAA and the Smithsonian Institution.

Lumpkin, R. and M. Pazos, 2003-present: Tropical Pacific drifting buoys. Monthly updates in Climate Diagnostics Bulletin, NOAA/Climate Prediction Center.

Lumpkin, R. and K. Speer, 2001: Meridional Overturning in the North Atlantic. International WOCE Newsletter, 42, 3-5.

Lumpkin, R., 1998: Eddies and currents of the Hawiian Islands. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Lumpkin, R., 1995: Resonant Coastal Waves and Superinertial Oscillations. Masters thesis, University of Hawaii at Manoa.