NOAA and its partners have come together to launch approximately 100 new Argo floats across the Atlantic Ocean to collect data that supports ocean, weather and climate research and forecasting. These will strengthen the international Argo program, which maintains a global network of approximately 3,800 floats that measure the pressure, temperature and salinity of the top 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) of the ocean.
The French sailboat Iris arrived in Woods Hole, Mass., After deploying the first batch of 17 Argo floats across the Atlantic. At Woods Hole, the crew of the S / V Iris will collect the 83 remaining floats for the second leg of the voyage in the South Atlantic, towards the island of Saint Helena, off Namibia. The mission is one of the largest deployments of Argo floats in the Atlantic and is expected to last nearly 100 days at sea, filling critical observation gaps.
This low-carbon research mission using an 82-foot sailboat was made possible through a new partnership between the private oceanographic company Blue Observer and the international partners of the Argo program of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, NOAA, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Europe.
âComing at a time when we need meaningful action to tackle the climate crisis, this low-carbon research mission sets a solid example for future ocean observation research,â said Rick Spinrad. , Ph.D., administrator of NOAA. “This trip is a model of a global public-private partnership that is helping us improve the data that enables life-saving weather and climate forecasts.”
During one of a sailboat’s largest missions to deploy profiling floats, the crew of the S / V Iris will deliver Argo floats to preset GPS positions, replacing end-of-life ones and deploying floats in new under-measured floats. regions to strengthen the Argo network. The lifespan of each float is approximately five years. During a typical mission, each float reports a profile of the high seas every ten days, transmitting data to the coast via satellite.
âArgo has revolutionized our ability to detect and monitor the changing global ocean as the climate changes,â said Peter de Menocal, Ph.D., president and director of the Woods Holeanographic Institution. “The collection of ocean warming trends observed by Argo floats is proof that climate change is due to greenhouse gas emissions.”
The initiative originated during the international COVID pandemic, when the deployment of Argo floats and other oceanographic instruments by research and commercial vessels was severely curtailed by COVID-19 restrictions.
âAround 1,000 Argo profiler floats are to be deployed each year to support the Global Ocean Observing System,â said Mathieu BelbÃ©och, Global Ocean Observing System manager and partner. âOften they are opportunistically deployed by research vessels, but these are very expensive, and their trajectories are tied to specific missions and are not able to fill all the gaps or work in all seasons. Collaborations with citizens allow us to reach remote and not yet well sampled areas of the ocean, filling critical observation gaps.
This low-impact trip follows the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland with its urgent message to reduce global warming emissions. This innovative collaboration between the intergovernmental, public and private sectors also takes place within the framework of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development and is funded by NOAA, OMSI, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Euro- Argo.