Argo profiling floats bring new era of in situ ocean observations


  • John Gould,

  • Dean Roemmich,

  • Susan Wijffels,

  • Howard Freeland,

  • Mark Ignaszewsky,

  • Xu Jianping,

  • Sylvie Pouliquen,

  • Yves Desaubies,

  • Uwe Send,

  • Kopillil Radhakrishnan,

  • Kensuke Takeuchi,

  • Kuh Kim,

  • Mikhail Danchenkov,

  • Phil Sutton,

  • Brian King,

  • Breck Owens,

  • Steve Riser


The Argo profiling float project will enable, for the first time, continuous global observations of the temperature, salinity, and velocity of the upper ocean in near-real time.This new capability will improve our understanding of the ocean's role in climate, as well as spawn an enormous range of valuable ocean applications. Because over 90% of the observed increase in heat content of the air/land/sea climate system over the past 50 years occurred in the ocean [Leuitus et al., 2001], Argo will effectively monitor the pulse of the global heat balance.The end of 2003 was marked by two significant events for Argo. In mid-November 2003, over 200 scientists from 22 countries met at Argo's first science workshop to discuss early results from the floats. Two weeks later, Argo had 1000 profiling floats—one-third of the target total—delivering data. As of 7 May that total was 1171.