The Argo Program: Observing the Global Oceans with Profiling Floats Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The Argo Program has created the first global array for observing the subsurface ocean. Argo arose from a compelling scientific need for climate-relevant ocean data; it was made possible by technology development and implemented through international collaboration. The float program and its data management system began with regional arrays in 1999, scaled up to global deployments by 2004, and achieved its target of 3000 active instruments in 2007. US Argo, supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Navy through the National Oceanographic Partnership Program, provides half of the floats in the international array, plus leadership in float technology, data management, data quality control, international coordination, and outreach. All Argo data are freely available without restriction, in real time and in research-quality forms. Uses of Argo data range from oceanographic research, climate research, and education, to operational applications in ocean data assimilation and seasonal-to-decadal prediction. Argo’s value grows as its data accumulate and their applications are better understood. Continuing advances in profiling float and sensor technologies open many exciting possibilities for Argo’s future, including expanding sampling into high latitudes and the deep ocean, improving near-surface sampling, and adding biogeochemical parameters.

publication date

  • June 1, 2009