Argo is an international program that calls for the deployment of 3,000 free drifting profiling floats, distributed over the global oceans, which will measure the temperature and salinity in the upper 2,000m of the ocean providing 100,000 T/S profiles and reference velocity measurements per year. This broad-scale global array of temperature/salinity profiling floats has already grown to be a major component of the ocean observing system. The program has changed the way scientists think about collecting data and provided additional spin off such as how to collaborate internationally and how to develop a data management that can be used for the scientific community. Data is crucial for weather forecast and provides information for climate and the biological ocean.
The international Argo community maintains a web portal where the Argo project information is shared.
The main objective of the Argo program is to provide a quantitative description of the evolving state of the upper 2000m of the ocean by collecting profiles of temperature and salinity from the surface to 2000m. Argo data is used for initialization of ocean and coupled (ocean atmosphere) forecast models, data assimilation and dynamical model testing. It has been demonstrated that the assimilation of Argo data in the models improved weather and climate forecast. Profiling float data have an enormous range of applications. The more distinctive categories for Argo data use are: educational uses, operational uses and research uses.
Argo, the broad-scale global array of temperature/salinity profiling floats, is a major component of the ocean observing system. Deployment of floats began in 2000. Conceptually, Argo builds on the existing upper-ocean thermal networks, extending their spatial and temporal coverage, depth range and accuracy, and enhancing them through addition of salinity and velocity measurements. The name Argo is chosen to emphasize the strong complementary relationship of the global float array with the Jason altimeter mission. For the first time, the physical state of the upper ocean is systematically measured and assimilated in near real-time.
Profiling float data have an enormous range of applications. The more distinctive categories for Argo data use are : Educational, Operational, and Research. With over 3200 floats reporting free, easy to access data every 10 days, Argo provides a relevant, global ocean data set. The temperature, salinity and velocity data from Argo can teach everything from basic concepts, like the temperature of the ocean and how to read graphs, to more complicated ones like analyzing ocean data over time and climate change issues.