Argo

International Argo Project

Initiative Type: Programmes

Belém Statement Area: Climate Variability, Ocean Observation, Polar Research

Initiative Location: Argentina,Australia,Canada,China,France,Germany,India,Ireland,Italy,Netherlands,New Zealand,Norway,Poland,Republic of Korea,South Africa,Spain,United States of America

Time Frame: 1998-Ongoing

Description:

Argo is an international program that collects information from inside the ocean using a fleet of robotic instruments that drift with the ocean currents and move up and down between the surface and a mid-water level. Each instrument (float) spends almost all its life below the surface. The name Argo was chosen because the array of floats works in partnership with the Jason earth observing satellites that measure the shape of the ocean surface. 23 countries contribute floats to Argo and many others help with float deployments. Argo will soon reach its target of 3000 floats delivering data within 24 hours to researchers and operational centres worldwide. Argo has revolutionized the collection of information from inside the oceans. The Argo project is organized in regional and national Centers with a Project Office, an Information Center (AIC) and 2 Global Data Centers (GDAC), at the United States and at France. Each DAC submits regularly all its new files to both USGODAE and Coriolis GDACs.The whole Argo data set is available in real time and delayed mode from the global data centres (GDACs). Argo objectives are to: (1) It will provide a quantitative description of the changing state of the upper ocean and the patterns of ocean climate variability from months to decades, including heat and freshwater storage and transport; (2) The data will enhance the value of satellite altimeter data through measurement of subsurface temperature, salinity, and velocity, with sufficient coverage and resolution to permit interpretation of altimetric sea surface height variability; (3) Argo data will be used for initializing ocean and coupled ocean-atmosphere forecast models, for data assimilation and for model testing; (4) A primary focus of Argo is to document seasonal to decadal climate variability and to aid our understanding of its predictability. A wide range of applications for high-quality global ocean analyses is anticipated; (5) Freely deliver data in near real-time via the Global Data Assembly Centers (GDACs) in Brest, France and Monterey, California after an automated quality control (QC), and in scientifically quality controlled form, delayed mode data within one year of collection. Argo has made remarkable progress towards its objectives that were set in 1998. It is already the mainstay of the in-situ ocean-observing system and its data have made possible research and operational activities that were previously impossible. Argo data have started to shed light on some of the key questions about the oceans’ role in the earth’s climate system. It will provide a quantitative description of the changing state of the upper ocean and the patterns of ocean climate variability from months to decades, including heat and freshwater storage and transport. The data will enhance the value of satellite altimeter data through measurement of subsurface temperature, salinity, and velocity, with sufficient coverage and resolution to permit interpretation of altimetric sea surface height variability. Argo data will be used for initializing ocean and coupled ocean-atmosphere forecast models, for data assimilation and for model testing. A primary focus of Argo is to document seasonal to decadal climate variability and to aid our understanding of its predictability. A wide range of applications for high-quality global ocean analyses is anticipated. Freely deliver data in near real-time via the Global Data Assembly Centers (GDACs) in Brest, France and Monterey, California after an automated quality control (QC), and in scientifically quality controlled form, delayed mode data within one year of collection.

Contact: Argo Program Office, argo@ucsd.edu

Initiative Website: http://www.argo.net/