Argo

From Openwaterpedia

Argo is a global array of 3,000 free-drifting profiling floats that measures the temperature and salinity of the upper 2000 meters of the ocean. The Argo array is part of the Global Climate Observing System/Global Ocean Observing System. Argo allows, for the first time, continuous monitoring of the temperature, salinity, and velocity of the upper ocean, with all data being relayed and made publicly available within hours after collection.

Purpose

Sea level is rising at an accelerating rate of 3 mm/year, Arctic sea ice cover is shrinking and high latitude areas are warming rapidly. Globally, 8 of the 10 warmest years since 1860, when instrumental records began, were in the past decade.

These effects are caused by a mixture of long-term climate change and natural variability. Their impacts are in some cases beneficial (lengthened growing seasons, opening of Arctic shipping routes) and in others adverse (increased coastal flooding, severe droughts, more extreme and frequent heat waves and weather events such as severe tropical cyclones).

Understanding (and eventually predicting) changes in both the atmosphere and ocean are needed to

(1) guide international actions (2) optimize governments' policies (3) shape industrial strategies.

In order to make predictions, improved models of climate and of the entire earth system are required. In 1999, to combat this lack of data, Argo was started to greatly improve the collection of observations inside the ocean through increased sampling of old and new quantities and increased coverage in terms of time and area.

Argo Floats

Argo deployments began in 2000 and by November 2007 the array is 100% completed with 3,000 floats with another 800 floats added per year. Frequently, even with the 3000 float target achieved, more floats are needed because some areas of the ocean are over populated while others have gaps that need to be filled.

Besides float deployment, Argo has worked hard to develop two separate data streams: real time and delayed mode. A real time data delivery and quality control system has been established that delivers 90% of profiles to users via two global data centers within 24 hours. A delayed mode quality control system (DMQC) has been established and 60% of all eligible profiles have had DMQC applied.

User Population

Argo has developed a large user community in universities, government labs and meteorological/climate analysis/forecasting centers. The need for global Argo observations will continue indefinitely into the future, though the technologies and design of the array will evolve as better instruments are built, models are improved, and more is learned about ocean variability.

Float Animation

External links