Map of the week – Argo floats
This week, the All Atlantic Ocean Research Forum showcases the remarkable Atlantic marine research that is being done through international cooperation made possible by the 2014 Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation (EU - US - Canada) and the 2017 Belém Statement on Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Cooperation (EU - Brazil - South Africa). While a lot of progress is being made towards an All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, the forum also focusses on the many future challenges in an ocean threatened by a changing climate and the destruction of marine biodiversity. One of the main challenges is to communicate ocean research to society, industry and decision makers so that it can inform policies that reduce humanity’s impact on the climate and ocean ecosystems.
One accomplishment of international cooperation on ocean research is the Argo float program. The Argo project is run by over 30 nations from all continents that maintain an array of almost 4000 free-floating buoys within the world’s ocean. These so called ‘argo floats’, which look like human sized wine bottles, have the unique ability to sink to a water depth of 2000 metre and return to the sea surface while collecting information on seawater properties like temperature, salinity and velocity. When a buoy reaches the surface, this information together with its position, is sent to open marine data initiatives like EMODnet Physics, where it is freely available only hours after it has been collected. Together with other oceanographic instruments like drifting buoys, ferry boxes and underwater gliders, Argo floats contribute to the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) which enables scientists to better understand and predict climate change, allows for improved operational services like weather forecasts and tsunami warning systems, and permits the assessment of marine ecosystem health. The map of the week shows the near real-time positions of all the Argo floats that are currently drifting around in the ocean. By clicking on a particular float, you can learn which country and institution deployed it and what kind of information it is collecting.
The data in this map were provided by EMODnet Physics.