Global Surface Currents


To provide quarterly reports on the state of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) for near-surface currents. Surface currents carry massive amounts of heat from the tropics to subpolar latitudes, and reflect the upper limbs of the global meridional overturning circulation.

Click on the image to view diagram of surface currents derived from drifter observations.

Data and Products

NOAA/AOML houses the Drifting Buoy Data Assembly Center and The Drifter Operation Center, components of the Global Drifter Program (GDP). A major goal of the GDP is to maintain an array of 1250 satellite-tracked drifting buoys to measure mixed layer (near-surface) currents, sea surface temperature, air pressure, and winds. At several sites, fixed current meters also measure near surface currents; theses data are provided by the TAO Project Office at NOAA/PMEL.

Quarterly Reports

View latest report [JPG] [PDF]

State of the ocean quarterly estimates showing how successfully the GOOS has measured near-surface currents starting on Q2, 2005 (April-June). Estimate the global bias in currents calculated from altimetry, based on the current GOOS coverage and historical correlations between satellite-derived surface currents and currents from surface drifting buoys and moored current meters. Go