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 worldâs 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.