A Broad-Scale Global Array of Temperature/Salinity Profiling Floats

Project Description
ARGO is a broad-scale global array of temperature/salinity profiling
floats, known as Argo, is planned as a major component of the ocean
observing system. Deployment began in 2000. Conceptually, Argo builds
on the existing upper-ocean thermal networks, extending their spatial
and temporal coverage, depth range and accuracy, and enhancing them
through addition of salinity and velocity measurements. The name Argo
is chosen to emphasize the strong complementary relationship of the
global float array with the Jason altimeter mission. For the first
time, the physical state of the upper ocean will be systematically
measured and assimilated in near real-time.

Objectives of Argo fall into several categories. Argo will provide a
quantitative description of the evolving state of the upper ocean and
the patterns of ocean climate variability, including heat and
freshwater storage and transport. The data will enhance the value of
the Jason altimeter through measurement of subsurface vertical
structure (T(z), S(z)) and reference velocity, with sufficient
coverage and resolution for interpretation of altimetric sea surface
height variability. Argo data will be used for initialization of
ocean and coupled forecast models, data assimilation and dynamical
model testing. A primary focus of Argo is seasonal to decadal climate
variability and predictability, but a wide range of applications for
high-quality global ocean analyses is anticipated.

The initial design of the Argo network is based on experience from the
present observing system, on newly gained knowledge of variability
from the TOPEX/Poseidon altimeter, and on estimated requirements for
climate and high-resolution ocean models. Argo will provide 100,000
T/S profiles and reference velocity measurements per year from about
3000 floats distributed over the global oceans at 3-degree spacing.
Floats will cycle to 2000 m depth every 10 days, with a 4-5 year
lifetime for individual instruments. All Argo data will be publicly
available in near real-time via the GTS, and in scientifically
quality-controlled form with a few months delay. Global coverage
should be achieved during the Global Ocean Data Assimilation
Experiment, which together with CLIVAR and GCOS/GOOS, provide the
major scientific and operational impetus for Argo. The design
emphasizes the need to integrate Argo within the overall framework of
the global ocean observing system.

International planning for Argo, including sampling and technical
issues, is coordinated by the Argo Science Team. Nations presently
having Argo plans that include float procurement or production include
Australia, Canada, France, Japan, U.K., and U.S.A., plus a European
Union proposal. Combined deployments from these nations are expected
to exceed 700 floats per year by 2002. Broad participation in Argo by
many nations is anticipated and encouraged either through float
procurement, logistical support for float deployment, or through
analysis and assimilation of Argo data.

For more information, link to http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/