Gulf Stream Trajectories Measured with Free-Drifting Buoys Academic Article uri icon


  • During 1975-78, 35 free-drifting buoys measured surface currents in the Gulf Stream region. The buoy trajectories trace numerous paths of the Stream and show that the Stream is strongly influenced by the New England Seamounts. This influence is manifested as 1) a quasi-permanent, 100 km, southeastward deflection of the Stream and the frequent occurrence of a ring meander over the seamounts; 2) large-amplitude meanders beginning at the seamounts and extending eastward; and 3) small, 20 km diameter eddies which appear to be generated locally by individual seamounts. A chart of the mean temperature field at a depth of 450 m agrees with several of the patterns seen in the buoy trajectories. West of the seamounts, the mean path of the Gulf Stream is eastward; over the seamounts, the path turns sharply northeastward and the isotherms in the Stream abruptly diverge.

publication date

  • July 1981