Robotic instrument network covers most of the globe

Date: 1/4/2005

Scientists have recently crossed an important threshold in an international effort to deploy a global

network of robotic instruments to monitor and investigate important changes in the world’s oceans.

Officials wth Argo announced they have reached the point where 1,500 ocean-travelling, floating

instruments are now in operation. The floats, which are robotically programmed to record and transmit

data, are uniquely positioned to provide important information about climate and weather phenomena.

Other applications include ocean heat storage and climate change, ocean salinity changes due to rainfall

and ocean-driven events such as El Nino; impacts of ocean temperature on fisheries and regional

ecosystems; interactions between the ocean and monsoons and how the oceans drive hurricanes

and typhoons. The full Argo array of 3,000 floats is expected to be deployed by 2007. Argo floats

are autonomous ocean-travelling robots programmed to sink more than a mile below the ocean

surface and drift for as long as four years. Every 10 days the instruments surface to record data

and to relay the information to satellites. The floats then sink again to begin a new cycle.

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