The Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology

About the DBCP

The DBCP is an international programme coordinating the use of autonomous data buoys to observe atmosphere and ocean conditions, for forecasting and research in ocean areas where few measurements are taken.


The DBCP was formed in 1985, as a joint body of  the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. It makes up the data buoy component of the Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM).

The DBCP was the first Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) component to achieve its initial goal, when in 2005, it deployed its 1250th drifter, meaning one buoy in every 500 km square. Along with Argo, the Ship Observations Team (SOT) and OceanSITES, the DBCP is a part of the JCOMM In-situ Observing Platform Support Centre (JCOMMOPS).


Increasing the quantity, quality and timeliness of atmospheric and oceanographic data in ocean areas, where few other measurements are taken, to improve global forecasts of weather and ocean condition.

The Terms of Reference are available here.


To provide international coordination and assist those providing and using observations from data buoys, within the meteorological and oceanographic communities. It reviews and analyses requirements for such data and provides an international focus and liaison on:

  • strategies to maintain a global network of over 1250 drifting buoys   and over 400 moorings
  • cooperative deployment programmes
  • monitoring quantity and quality of real-time data
  • data management and archiving
  • advancements in buoy technology
  • support information exchange and sharing of expertise
  • documentation and standards
  • regional activities and between national bodies
  • interactions with other international programs

Pilot Projects

The DBCP is undertaking several pilot projects 


Action Groups

Much of the work achieved by the DBCP is through Action Groups.Each group maintains an observational buoy program that supplies data for operational and research purposes.The DBCP has the following action groups:

  • The Global Drifter Program (GDP)
  • OceanSITES (long-term, deepwater reference stations)
  • Tropical Moored Buoy Implementation Panel  (TAO, TRITON, PIRATA, RAMA)
  • European EUCOS Surface Marine Programme (E-SURFMAR )
  • International Arctic Buoy Programme (IABP)
  • International South Atlantic Buoy Programme (ISABP)
  • North Pacific Data Buoy Advisory Panel (NPDBAP)
  • International Buoy Program for the Indian Ocean (IBPIO )
  • International Programme for Antarctic Buoys (IPAB)

There is also an active deployment program for the Southern Ocean, known as the Southern Ocean Buoy Program, which aims to deploy at least 300 drifting buoys equipped with barometers each year, south of 40°S. 

More details about Action Groups are available here

Task Teams

The DBCP also established a series of Task Teams to globally address specific areas of its goals:

Executive Board

The DBCP Executive Board oversees and plans for administrative and financial matters on behalf of the Panel.

Also see the key contacts on the DBCP website.






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