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December 2012

Global Drifter Program (GDP) and
International Arctic Buoy Program (IABP)

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory;
and Polar Science Center

The goal of the Global Drifter Program is to maintain a global array of satellite-tracked buoys, most equipped with Argos, to meet the need for an accurate and globally dense set of in situ observations of sea-surface temperature and surface circulation to support short-term predictions as well as climate research and monitoring.

The International Arctic Buoy Program maintains a network of drifting buoys across the Arctic Ocean. The IABP is a collaboration between 25 different institutions from 8 different countries, which work together to maintain a network of drifting buoys in the Arctic Ocean to provide meteorological and oceanographic data for research purposes and real-time operational requirements, including support to the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the World Weather Watch (WWW) Programme. The Argos system is the primary mode of data collection for the IABP. The data are collected and analyzed at the Polar Science Center (PSC), which produces data sets of SAT, SLP and ice motion for research in Arctic meteorology, oceanography and climate. These data sets are described in journal articles and annual data reports. The data from the IABP are also distributed operationally to the Global Telecommunications System, and are used to forecast weather and ice conditions. We have also become a participant of the International Programme for Antarctic Buoys (IPAB) & will be deploying buoys in the Southern Ocean.

For more information:


Satellite Products and Services Division
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Phone: 301-817-4543
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