Friday, October 21, 2005

Legions of Ocean Robots

University of California and Scripps Institution of Oceanography have announced some major milestones for the army of Argo oceanographer robots...

The free-floating Argo "robot oceanographers," a successful observation program that began in 2000 and is part of the global observing system to monitor Earth's oceans, reached two milestones: two-thirds completion of the international global array and the collection of nearly 55,000 profiles by the U.S. floats.

Argo is an internationally coordinated, broad-scale global array of temperature and salinity profiling floats, and a major component of the global ocean observing system. The program will eventually deploy 3,000 temperature and salinity profiling floats. As of October 12, there are 2,057 floats around the world.

Float data from argo homepage

The 54,447th Argo profile was transmitted Oct. 5 on the Global Telecommunications System (GTS) for use by the international oceanographic community. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, Fla., manages the real-time U.S. Argo data.

The floats are deployed from research vessels, volunteer merchant ships, and aircraft. Upon release, the floats sink to a prescribed depth (typically 1000 or 2000m), remain submerged from 10 to 14 days, and then obtain temperature and salinity profiles of the water column on their return to the surface. Once on the surface, the floats transmit their data to satellites then repeat their data collecting cycle.

Each float is designed for a four-year lifespan, or approximately 150 cycles. Some have lasted longer.

Two Milestones for Argo Ocean 'Robots' Achieved: Global Array 2/3 Complete, 55,000th Profile Near

UC NewsWire -- Two milestones for ocean robots


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