Drifting buoys - DBCP

Brief history:

Drifting buoys are part of the Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP) international program, representing an array of 1,500 instruments measuring the atmosphere and ocean surface conditions for an average of 18 months.



Drifting buoys are floating ocean buoys equipped with meteorological and oceanographic sensors and a floating anchor - called drogue. The drogue, connected to the buoy with a long line, provides water resistance, slowing the buoy down and allowing it to drift in the water.

Drifting buoys are equipped with satellite communications equipment to transmit information on their position as well as atmospheric and oceanographic data in real-time.

Deployment location:

Drifting buoys are deployed in high-seas.

Main data collected:
  • Air temperature
  • Near-surface wind
  • Sea surface temperature and salinity
  • Surface air pressure
  • Humidity
Societal applications:
  • Global to regional weather forecasts (predict hurricane, storm, tempest, etc.) 
  • Monitoring ocean circulation (currents, tides, waves, etc.)
  • Ocean modelling
  • Follow migrating marine species
  • Quantify marine transport (identify where debris such as plastic piles up, predict the path of ocean pollutants such as oil spills and plastics, etc.)


If you want to learn more about this program, visit the website: https://www.ocean-ops.org/DBCP/