In a recent article published in Frontiers in Marine Science, the history of the Argo program is examined and discussed. The Argo program began in 1998 when a team of international scientists, known as the “Argo Science Team,” proposed the idea for a global array of autonomous floats to obtain temperature and salinity measurements of the upper 2,000 meters of the global ocean. The new array of floats, called Argo, would go on to be endorsed as a pilot program of the Global Ocean Observing System and be used to fill in the large data gaps in ocean observations.
AOML scientists partnered with the U.S. Air Force 53rd Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters” to deploy eight drifting buoys in advance of Tropical Storm Isaias on August 3, 2020 off the Carolina coast, in collaboration with the National Weather Service (NWS), National Hurricane Center (NHC), and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
AOML is preparing to deploy two autonomous data pod systems with Pressure Inverted Echo Sounders near the eastern boundary of the North Atlantic during March 2020. This will be the first full scale operational deployment of data pods, with a goal of providing a low-cost solution for the sustained Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation monitoring without the continuous use of a research vessel.
AOML scientists recently traveled to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, respectively, to train members of the CARICOOS and ANAMAR ocean glider teams in the removal and installation of science sensors in the fleet of AOML underwater gliders.
Scientists are now looking to expand their observing capabilities to include the biology and chemistry of the oceans, currently available globally from ocean color satellites that measure chlorophyll, indicating algal blooms at the ocean surface. A recent paper in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology by AOML postdoctoral scientist Cyril Germineaud of the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies and colleagues shows that in close synergy with ocean color satellites, a global array of biogeochemical sensors complementing the existing core Argo network could revolutionize our knowledge of the changing state of primary productivity, ocean carbon cycling, ocean acidification, and the patterns of marine ecosystem variability from seasonal to interannual time scales.
TACOS has added 10 acoustic current meters to the Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic (PIRATA) buoy, moored at 4N, 23W. Profile measurements are taken every 1-10 minutes, depending on depth. Prior to the addition of the TACOS upper ocean observations in March 6, 2017 velocity profiles were only collected at this location during shipboard surveys. These measurements are important because ocean currents influence temperature, salinity, and air-sea fluxes in the tropical North Atlantic, which affect weather, climate, and fisheries of the surrounding continents.
Four ocean gliders set off to sea this week to bring back data that scientists hope will improve the accuracy of hurricane forecast models.The robotic, unmanned gliders are equipped with sensors to measure the salt content (salinity) and temperature as they move through the ocean at different depths. The gliders, which can operate in hurricane conditions, collect data during dives down to a half mile below the sea surface, and transmit the data to satellites when they surface.
NOAA will soon launch a fleet of 15 unmanned gliders in the Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic Ocean this hurricane season to collect important oceanic data that could prove useful to forecasters. “If you want to improve prediction of how hurricanes gain strength or weaken as they travel over the ocean, it’s critical to take the ocean’s temperature and measure how salty it is,” said Gustavo Goni, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory who is helping lead the glider research. “Not just at the surface, which we measure with satellites, but down into deeper layers of ocean waters.”
NOAA’s Global Drifter Program is a globally collaborative research project that provides near real-time marine data for the world. It allows us to record data for weather forecasts, track decadal patterns, and pinpoint inter-annual climate variations like El Nino Southern Oscillation. Global drifters provide observational verification for weather models, calibrate satellite observations, and collect and transfer new data about the ocean temperature, currents and barometric pressure.
Staff with the US Argo Data Acquisition Center (DAC) at AOML marked an important milestone this past February by processing the one millionth profile from Argo floats. The DAC team has been processing and quality controlling all of the raw data obtained from US-deployed Argo floats since 2001, with about 90,000 temperature-salinity profiles processed annually since 2007. These profiles have provided the global scientific community with an unprecedented record of the evolving state of the upper ocean, advancing understanding of the ocean’s role in world climate.