An array of instruments, many built at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, that allows scientists to observe the basic physical state of all world oceans simultaneously is approaching its coverage goal after eight years of deployments.
The Argo network of sensor-bearing profiling floats measures ocean water temperature, salinity and velocity to a degree never before possible. The Argo Steering Committee, the international panel of scientists that manage the network, has designated Nov. 1 as the date on which it will reach its full deployment of 3,000 units. The deployment of these final floats will mean that data from every ocean region in the world will be available with average coverage of one sensor per 3 degrees latitude and longitude.
The launch will culminate one phase of a project that has witnessed the participation of 41 countries in roles ranging from the subsidizing of instrument manufacture to the volunteering of ships to deploy floats in remote ocean reaches. Several countries are contributing to the completion of the array as several deployment missions are taking place now.
Among the final deployment missions is that of R/V Kaharoa, a research vessel operated by New Zealands National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. The ship departed Wellington on Oct. 2 with two Argo floats one built at Scripps, the other at the University of Washington both ceremonially marked as the 3,000th to acknowledge the contributions of the two research centers to Argo. Kaharoa is expected to deploy these two floats in the southern Pacific Ocean at a latitude of 45 degrees south.
The panel of researchers guiding the science mission of Argo emphasize that the milestone merely marks the beginning of what is hoped to be a long history of comprehensive ocean records that will allow scientists to understand patterns of ocean dynamics that unfold over thousands of miles and dozens of years.
The climate scien
|Contact: Rob Monroe|
University of California - San Diego