Argo world 

  Latest News: News Archives
August 16, 2014 Argo bibliography and Argo in press updated.
Inform argo@ucsd.edu of changes.
August 12, 2014 Argo called "one of the scientific triumphs of the age" by NY Times
August 8, 2014 Deep Argo prototype data enters the Argo data stream
Learn about the accuracy of the data and how to identify WMO IDs of Deep Argo prototype floats
June 13, 2014 Videos from the recent Deep Argo float deployment off NZ
Photos too
June 13, 2014 Argo Steering Team 15 meeting report published
June 13, 2014 Introduction to the new V3.0 & 3.1 profile files
Introduction to the new V3.0 & 3.1 meta files
June 3, 2014 New install available for Marine Argo Atlas
Argo and Reynolds data through April 2014 included
Static MAC and Linux versions available too
May 15, 2014 US Argo Science and Implementation Working Group meeting
will take place 28 - 30 July, 2014 in Seattle, WA.
Contact Steve Piotrowicz (steve.piotrowicz@noaa.gov) for details
April 4, 2014 ADMT-15 meeting hosted by DFO, MEOPAR and Bio-Argo Canada
AMDT plenary 5-7 November 2014
Bio-Argo plenary 3-4 November 2014
March 27, 2014 The S/V Investigator deploys 41 Argo floats along the Equator in Pacific Ocean
February 13, 2014 Argo Thesis Citation List updated.
Inform argo@ucsd.edu of changes.
January 21, 2014 Data FAQ page added to the website.
June 7, 2013 Introduction to the new trajectory 3.0 files

What is Argo?

Argo is a global array of more than 3,000 free-drifting profiling floats that measures thetemperature and salinity of the upper 2000 m of the ocean.  This 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.

Positions of the floats that have delivered data within the last 30 days (AIC, updated daily) :

Why do we need Argo?

We are increasingly concerned about global change and its regional impacts. 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. Extreme weather events cause loss of life and enormous burdens on the insurance industry. 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 guide international actions, to optimize governments' policies and to shape industrial strategies. To make those predictions we need improved models of climate and of the entire earth system (including socio-economic factors).

Lack of sustained observations of the atmosphere, oceans and land have hindered the development and validation of climate models. An example comes from a recent analysis which concluded that the currents transporting heat northwards in the Atlantic and influencing western European climate had weakened by 30% in the past decade. This result had to be based on just five research measurements spread over 40 years. Was this change part of a trend that might lead to a major change in the Atlantic circulation, or due to natural variability that will reverse in the future, or is it an artifact of the limited observations?

In 1999, to combat this lack of data, an innovative step was taken by scientists 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.

That step was Argo.

Argo animationargo.avi is a float animation that explains the purpose and method of Argo.


Where is Argo now?

Argo deployments began in 2000 and by November 2007 the millionth profile was collected. Today, even with more than 3600 active floats, there are still some areas of the ocean that are over-populated while others have gaps that need to be filled with additional floats. Today's tally of floats is shown in the figure above. To maintain the Argo array, national programs need to provide about 800 floats per year.

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 (GDACs) within 24 hours. A delayed mode quality control system (DMQC) has been established and 65% of all eligible profiles have had DMQC applied.

Float reliability has improved almost every year and the float lifetime has been extended. 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.

Who Collaborates with Argo?

Argo is a major contributor to the WCRP 's Climate Variability and Predictability Experiment (CLIVAR) project and to the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE). The Argo array is part of the Global Climate Observing System/Global Ocean Observing System GCOS /GOOS).