Array Map - Partners
Array Map - Drifter Types
Array Map - Google Earth
Array Evaluation
Global Deployment Value Map
Array Map - Drogue Status
Array Growth
Global Near-Surface Currents - Climatology
Drifter Illustration
Ocean Currents Schematic

Database Update Status

August 05, 2020:

The GDP database has been updated through March 31, 2020.
Using a secure FTP client, such as FileZilla, Download All

To download a subset of this database, either by region, time, or drogue presence, visit Data Subsets

Many historical drogue off dates have been reevaluated. As of November 2013, the drogue reevaluation project was finished. See Lumpkin et al. (2013) [PDF] for details.

Please note: We now have 4 separate data and directory files, since we exceeded 20,000 records and the original file was getting too large. Some modifications were made to older files, so if you downloaded data prior to May 2016, reload all updated files.


Aug 3, 2020

Hurricane Isaias Drifter Deployments

Late on Sunday, August 2, an Air Force C-130J of the 53rd Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters” deployed eight drifters ahead of tropical cyclone Isaias off the Carolina coast. These deployments were coordinated by Rick Lumpkin of NOAA/AOML, working with NWS/NHC/CARCAH and Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). The drifters, designed and built at SIO and funded by NOAA/GOMO, measure barometric pressure, sea surface temperature, ocean currents, wind speed and direction, and directional wave spectra. The data are now going onto the Global Telecommunications System for operational use by the National Weather Service and for better understanding how strong winds interact with the Gulf Stream system during wave formation and air-sea interactions. Isaias is forecast to reach Category 1 strength before reaching the array and subsequently making landfall.

April 08, 2020

New, NetCDF versions of all the 6-hour quality-controlled data are now available at the OSMC Interpolated Data ERDDAP server and at (using a secure FTP client, such as FileZilla). These now include a large amount of additional metadata including deploying country, drogue cross-sectional area, surface buoy diameter, presence of subsurface float, starting voltage, and much more. For instructions on how to download the data, follow these Interpolated Data Request Instructions and enter the parameters of interest.

August 16, 2019

The Global Drifter Program now has a digital object identifier (doi) to reference publications incorporating quality-controlled 6-hour interpolated data from ocean surface drifting buoys. To view specifics pertaining to this doi, or to reference drifter data in your publication, please utilize

July 13, 2019

Version 1.03 of the hourly drifter data is now available (using a secure FTP client, such as FileZilla).

July 10, 2019

Study Improves Drifter-Based Estimates of Near-Surface Ocean Currents

Using 40 years of observations from the NOAA''s Global Drifter Program Array, the authors depict the annual mean speed of ocean currents at 15 meters depth. The vectors highlight the general direction of the large-scale circulation. Image provided by Lucas Laurindo, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

March 26, 2019

Atlantic Crossing...In a Barrel

During the 2019 PIRATA Northeast Extension and AEROSE cruise, the R/V Ronald H. Brown was able to rendezvous with Jean Jacques Savin, a Frenchman who has been at sea for 3 months, while trying to cross the Atlantic in a barrel [Full Story]. The journey has taken Jean Jacques longer than expected, so he asked if the R/V Ronald H. Brown could replenish his food and water supplies. Jean Jacques was in good health and is hopeful to reach the Caribbean in a month. After the rendezvous, as Jean Jacques (and his barrel) drifted away, the R/V Ronald H. Brown deployed two drifters for the Global Drifter Program.

May 1, 2018

25,000 Drifter Deployments!

NOAA's Global Drifter Program reached a significant milestone: the 25,000th drifter deployment since the start of the program in 1979. The drifter was one of four deployed by Volvo Ocean Race boats off the coast of Brazil during Leg 7 of the race. Worldwide deployments are coordinated by the Global Drifter Center at NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in collaboration with numerous national and international partners. The drifters measure ocean currents, sea surface temperature (SST), and barometric pressure; these observations improve weather forecasts, ocean state estimation, satellite measurements of SST, and our understanding of how the ocean transports properties, tracers, and debris.


News Archive

Historic Drifter Activity

GDP Contact Info

Contact Information

GDP Personnel