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NOAA - hourly position, current, and sea surface temperature from drifters

climate environmental meteorological oceans sustainability weather


This dataset includes hourly sea surface temperature and current data collected by satellite-tracked surface drifting buoys ("drifters") of the NOAA Global Drifter Program. The Drifter Data Assembly Center (DAC) at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) has applied quality control procedures and processing to edit these observational data and obtain estimates at regular hourly intervals. The data include positions (latitude and longitude), sea surface temperatures (total, diurnal, and non-diurnal components) and velocities (eastward, northward) with accompanying uncertainty estimates. Metadata include identification numbers, experiment number, start location and time, end location and time, drogue loss date, death code, manufacturer, and drifter type.

Please note that data from the Global Drifter Program are also available at 6-hourly intervals but derived via alternative methods. The 6-hourly dataset goes back further in time (1979) and may be more appropriate for studies of long-term, low frequency patterns of the oceanic circulation. Yet, the 6-hourly dataset does not resolve fully high-frequency processes such as tides and inertial oscillations as well as sea surface temperature diurnal variability.

[CITING NOAA - hourly position, current, and sea surface temperature from drifters data. Citation for this dataset should include the following information below.]
Elipot, Shane; Sykulski, Adam; Lumpkin, Rick; Centurioni, Luca; Pazos, Mayra (2022). Hourly location, current velocity, and temperature collected from Global Drifter Program drifters world-wide. [indicate subset used]. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Dataset.

Update Frequency

New data is added as soon as it's available.


Open Data. There are no restrictions on the use of this data.


Managed By

See all datasets managed by NOAA.


Please direct scientific inquiries to Dr. Rick Lumpkin ( and Dr. Luca Centurioni ( Inquiries about the dataset itself may be directed to Dr. Shane Elipot (
For any questions regarding data delivery or any general questions regarding the NOAA Open Data Dissemination (NODD) Program, email the NODD Team at
We also seek to identify case studies on how NOAA data is being used and will be featuring those stories in joint publications and in upcoming events. If you are interested in seeing your story highlighted, please share it with the NODD team by emailing

How to Cite

NOAA - hourly position, current, and sea surface temperature from drifters was accessed on DATE from

Usage Examples


Resources on AWS

  • Description
    Hourly position, current, and sea surface temperature data from drifters
    Resource type
    S3 Bucket
    Amazon Resource Name (ARN)
    AWS Region
    AWS CLI Access (No AWS account required)
    aws s3 ls --no-sign-request s3://noaa-oar-hourly-gdp-pds/
    Browse Bucket
  • Description
    New data notifications for Hourly position, current, and sea surface temperature data from drifters, only Lambda and SQS protocols allowed
    Resource type
    SNS Topic
    Amazon Resource Name (ARN)
    AWS Region

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