Comment on “New Global Drifter Data Set available”



Stephen Pazan and Peter Niiler (Eos, 13 January 2004, p. 17) ably describe the global drifter data set that has now been assembled, its potential value to the oceanographic community and the locations on the Internet where it can be found.This is indeed an extraordinary resource that can be of immense value to a spectrum of oceanographers. In their enthusiasm to propound the usefulness of the data, they may however, have made one serious error.

In illustrating the meandering nature of the Agulhas Return Current with drifter tracks, they state, “New circulation features are also being discovered…In Figure 2 the Agulhas Current can be seen flowing south of the east coast of South Africa; it separates from the coast and meanders northward and southward seven times as it flows to the coast (sic; they mean: to the east). These meanders, which are steadily present from 1979 to 2002, have not been observed before.…”