AOML
NOAA

Oceans and Ecosystems

SFP Data Access

Drifting Buoys


As part of AOML SFP regional surveys of south Florida coastal waters, Lagrangian surface drifters have been deployed on a regular basis. These shoal draft, satellite-tracked drifters enable scientists to monitor regional flow patterns. Drifter deployment locations have varied depending on the configuration of the cruise track. However, deployments have been typically conducted at the mouth of the Shark River north of Cape Sable, at Riley's Hump in the Dry Tortugas, and in the Caloosahatchie River discharge near Charlotte Harbor. More recently, sites have also included Cape Romano and the Pulley Ridge. These regional surface drifter trajectories have been collected since the mid 1990's.

In addition to maintaining a long-term deployment time-series at these locations, AOML SFP drifter deployments have also been conducted in response to extreme events in the Gulf of Mexico, upstream from the south Florida marine ecosystem. For example, during the 2005 hurricane season, drifter deployments were organized to track suspected pollutant/contaminant pathways in the Gulf of Mexico via the Loop Current. Trajectories and data from these buoys can be found on the AOML SFP 2005 Hurricane Response Drifters website.

Due to a cessation of funding beginning in August 2012, the AOML SFP has suspended regional shipboard surveys and drifter deployments, and has recovered all project moorings. Though the SFP field component is in hiatus, scientific analyses continue on the project's historical datasets. Should funding for data collection activities be restored, SFP field operations will resume.

Historical AOML SFP South Florida Drifter Trajectories:

AOML SFP drifter data are freely available for academic, research, or professional purposes.
Download historical drifter trajectory plots and data below (.pdf, .ps, .jpg, and ASCII data).

Deployment Description Buoy ID# Transmission
FEB 2012 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Drifter meanders northwest on the southwest Florida Shelf.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
947159 02/29/12 - 04/07/12
MAR 2012 CAPE ROMANO DEPLOYMENT
Drifter meanders northwest on the Florida Shelf.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
947671 03/01/12 - 05/29/12
MAR 2012 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts west, then north on the southwest Florida Shelf.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
947980 03/01/12 - 05/30/12
DEC 2011 CAPE ROMANO DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts west southwest, dies near shelf break.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
947645 12/13/11 - 02/05/12
DEC 2011 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts southwest, grounds near Key West.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
949895 12/14/11 - 02/03/12
DEC 2011 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy is quickly ejected from the region via the Florida Current.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
945714 12/13/11 - 02/03/12
OCT 2011 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy recirculates extensively along Keys reef tract.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
annotated PDF
945719 10/22/11 - 01/12/12
OCT 2011 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy travels to the Dry Tortugas before grounding in Ft. Lauderdale.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
949809 10/23/11 - 12/14/11
OCT 2011 CAPE ROMANO DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts south, dies early after five days.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
946701 10/22/11 - 10/27/11
AUG 2011 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts slowly north along coast.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
950144 08/06/11 - 09/29/11
AUG 2011 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy catches Tortugas Gyre, then grounds on Duck Key.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
950220 08/05/11 - 08/18/11
AUG 2009 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy heads north, then south towards Marquesas.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
67976 08/26/09 - 11/27/09
AUG 2009 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy meanders westward, offshore Shark River.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70427 08/27/09 - 10/18/09
APR 2009 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy meanders north, grounds near Marco Island.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70427 04/23/09 - 06/11/09
APR 2009 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts north, dies offshore St. Pete.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70429 04/22/09 - 06/05/09
JAN 2009 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts slowly south, grounds near 7MB.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
67970 01/23/09 - 02/11/09
JAN 2009 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy catches frontal eddies, grounds near Indian Key.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70432 01/25/09 - 02/11/09
OCT 2008 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts NW before catchcing Loop Current.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70432 10/19/08 - 11/23/08
OCT 2008 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts SW, grounds in Marquesas Keys.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70428 10/21/08 - 11/15/08
OCT 2008 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts north, then south, dies early.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70430 10/20/08 - 11/07/08
MAY 2008 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy catches eddies and Tortugas Gyre, dies in The Quicksands.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70424 05/07/08 - 06/16/08
FEB 2008 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts north and south about its deployment site.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70425 02/11/08 - 05/16/08
FEB 2008 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts south through 7MB, grounds at Boca Chica.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
67970 02/11/08 - 03/19/08
FEB 2008 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts east, catches recirculation, grounds near Marathon.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70424 02/09/08 - 02/21/08
OCT 2007 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts south then west on SW Florida Shelf.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
67971 10/16/07 - 12/04/07
OCT 2007 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy meanders on Shelf before reaching Loop Current front.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
67968 10/15/07 - 11/18/07
OCT 2007 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts southwest and grounds near Key West.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
67969 10/17/07 - 11/13/07
MAY 2007 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy catches recirculation, prior to ejection from region.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
67979 05/22/07 - 08/27/07
MAY 2007 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy lingers on SW Florida Shelf near deployment site.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
67977 05/20/07 - 08/11/07
MAY 2007 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy lingers on SW Florida Shelf near deployment site.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
67978 05/20/07 - 07/14/07
FEB 2007 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy meanders north and then drifts southwest toward Loop Current.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70426 02/23/07 - 04/09/07
FEB 2007 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy catches recirculation south of Key Largo, grounds near 7MB.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70425 02/24/07 - 03/27/07
FEB 2007 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts southwest and grounds near Upper Harbor Key.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70424 02/18/07 - 03/27/07
NOV 2006 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy loops in Tortugas Gyre and is then ejected from the region.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70421 11/04/06 - 01/23/07
NOV 2006 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy meanders westward on SW Florida shelf.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70422 11/02/06 - 01/17/07
NOV 2006 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy dies upon deployment.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
70423 11/01/06 - 11/01/06
AUG 2006 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy travels NW from deployment site.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
29571 08/08/06 - 10/16/06
AUG 2006 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy travels NW in frontal eddies along edge of Loop Current.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
67974 08/11/06 - 10/03/06
AUG 2006 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy dies early at the mouth of the Shark River.

PDF | PS | JPG | DATA
67972 08/07/06 - 08/30/06
MAY 2006 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy travels NW in frontal eddies along edge of Loop Current.

PS | JPG | DATA
29570 05/04/06 - 07/28/06
JAN 2006 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy meanders southwestward on SW Florida shelf.

PS | JPG | DATA
29526 01/20/06 - 03/30/06
JAN 2006 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy catches recirculation south of lower Keys.

PS | JPG | DATA
29572 01/22/06 - 02/12/06
JAN 2006 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts southwest and is recovered near Big Pine Key.

PS | JPG | DATA
29571 01/19/06 - 02/12/06
NOV 2005 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts southwest and then catches the Florida Current.

PS | JPG | DATA
29524 11/01/05 - 02/25/06
NOV 2005 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts southwest and then catches the Florida Current.

PS | JPG | DATA
39759 11/02/05 - 01/07/06
AUG 2005 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy driven north by Hurricane Katrina and Rita.

PS | JPG | DATA
52522 08/18/05 - 10/25/05
AUG 2005 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy quickly ejected from region via Florida Current.

PS | JPG | DATA
52817 08/16/05 - 10/25/05
AUG 2005 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy rapidly driven north by Hurricane Katrina then heads west.

PS | JPG | DATA
43823 08/20/05 - 09/20/05
JUN 2005 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy circles in Tortugas Gyre and is then driven north by Katrina.

PS | JPG | DATA
52819 06/13/05 - 08/26/05
JUN 2005 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy grounds on Egmont Key and is redeployed by Good Samaritan.

PS | JPG | DATA
52825 06/11/05 - 08/10/05
JUN 2005 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts northwest and dies early offshore Charlotte Harbor.

PS | JPG | DATA
52820 06/09/05 - 07/21/05
APR 2005 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts south through Bahia Honda Channel, grounds near Key West.

PS | JPG | DATA
52823 04/14/05 - 05/21/05
APR 2005 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy quickly ejected from region via Florida Current.

PS | JPG | DATA
52827 04/10/05 - 06/17/05
FEB 2005 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts east and is struck by a boat south of Key West.

PS | JPG | DATA
52821 02/13/05 - 03/01/05
FEB 2005 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy meanders southward, then northward, dies west of Marco Island.

PS | JPG | DATA
52826 02/10/05 - 03/19/05
FEB 2005 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy passes through 7-Mile Bridge and grounds near Long Key.

PS | JPG | DATA
52825 02/08/05 - 03/08/05
DEC 2004 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts west then east with Florida Current. Recovered near Miami.

PS | JPG | DATA
52825 12/14/04 - 12/29/04
DEC 2004 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy catches Loop Current and rides Tortugas Gyre for 3 revolutions.

PS | JPG | DATA
52824 12/11/04 - 02/27/05
DEC 2004 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy passes through 7-Mile Bridge and catches Tortugas Gyre.

PS | JPG | DATA
52816 12/10/04 - 02/03/05
OCT 2004 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts southwest. It is picked up and then redeployed by boater.

PS | JPG | DATA
52818 10/21/04 - 12/29/04
AUG 2004 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy catches gyre near middle Keys then heads north in Gulf Stream.

PS | JPG | DATA
52815 08/20/04 - 10/08/04
AUG 2004 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy interacts with hurricanes. Loops northwest along SW Fl. shelf.

PS | JPG | DATA
52814 08/20/04 - 10/22/04
AUG 2004 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy struck by boat and dies early.

PS | JPG | DATA
52813 08/19/04 - 09/04/04
JUN 2004 CHARLOTTE HARBOR DEPLOYMENT
Buoy heads northwest along the coast. Grounds south of Tampa.

PS | JPG | DATA
39761 06/13/04 - 07/08/04
JUN 2004 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Gyre deployment south of 7MB. Buoy grounds soon after.

PS | JPG | DATA
43823 06/08/04 - 06/14/04
APR 2004 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy rides Gulf Stream out to 55W catching rings in transit.

PS | JPG | DATA
39768 04/28/04 - 07/14/04
APR 2004 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy slowly drifts northwest towards 10,000 Islands.

PS | JPG | DATA
39767 04/24/04 - 07/19/04
FEB 2004 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy deployed south of Key West. Grounds on Loggerhead Key.

PS | JPG | DATA
39761 02/24/04 - 03/10/04
FEB 2004 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts southwest. Picked up by fisherman on 03/06.

PS | JPG | DATA
43823 02/19/04 - 03/06/04
DEC 2003 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy plays in frontal eddies off of GA coast.

PS | JPG | DATA
43825 12/13/03 - 04/22/04
DEC 2003 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts due south. Grounds north of 7-Mile Bridge.

PS | JPG | DATA
43822 12/10/03 - 01/03/04
AUG 2003 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy catches Tortugas Gyre, picked up by fisherman on 08/19.
39761 08/07/03 - 08/19/03
JUN 2003 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts northwest.
39760 06/07/03 - 10/31/03
APR 2003 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts northwest. Grounds once on 5/20 and again on 5/27.
39759 04/23/03 - 05/27/03
APR 2003 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts northward, then dies early on 04/30.
29569 04/20/03 - 04/30/03
FEB 2003 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts northwest very slowly, possibly entangled.
21016 02/16/03 - 04/09/03
FEB 2003 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy picked up by fisherman shortly after deployment.
29569 02/13/03 - 02/16/03
DEC 2002 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts northward, then southward to Sugarloaf Key.
39759 12/08/02 - 01/18/03
DEC 2002 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy failed upon deployment.
21008 12/05/02 - 12/23/02
OCT 2002 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts southwest and grounds near Key West.
29569 10/09/02 - 11/22/02
OCT 2002 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts in Tortugas for weeks, then grounds at Elliot Key.
21016 10/06/02 - 11/21/02
AUG 2002 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts northwest.
19972 08/15/02 - 12/20/02
AUG 2002 DRY TORTUGAS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy loops in the Tortugas Gyre, then heads north to GA.
29572 08/09/02 - 11/22/02
JUN 2002 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy drifts northwest, picked up by samaritan and redeployed.
29524 06/05/02 - 08/19/02
MAY 2002 FLORIDA KEYS DEPLOYMENT
Buoy heads north in Gulf Stream.
29568 05/24/02 - 08/31/02
FEB 2002 SHARK RIVER DEPLOYMENT
Buoy meanders on Southwest Florida Shelf.
29526 02/22/02 - 07/02/02
MORE HISTORICAL DATA TO COME...


AOML SFP Real-Time Drifter Observations:

Due to a reduction in funding, the AOML SFP is not presently able to serve real-time drifter data. Should funding for these efforts be restored, real-time data distribution will resume on this page and at the following site.