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Argo Technologies. Argo TC Inputs by S. Riser (UW) DBCP #22, Technical Workshop La Jolla, California. Argo Fleet. 2576 Active Floats. Argo Floats. A fleet of US, French, German and Japanese profiling floats. Remark: IFREMER & JAMSTEC work on a new float generation. Argo Floats. NEMO.

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argo technologies

Argo Technologies

Argo TC

Inputs by S. Riser (UW)

DBCP #22, Technical Workshop

La Jolla, California

argo fleet
Argo Fleet
  • 2576 Active Floats
argo floats
Argo Floats
  • A fleet of US, French, German and Japanese profiling floats

Remark: IFREMER & JAMSTEC work on a new float generation

argo floats1
Argo Floats





argo cycle
Argo Cycle
  • Standard mission

150-200 cycles, t = 10 days,profile to 2000 m,

Sensors: T, S, p

sampling ~100 levels

float lifetime
Float Lifetime
  • Float lifetime improving but not yet optimal
  • Solutions:
  • Alkaline to Lithium batteries
  • Park & profile
  • New float generation
argo sensors
Argo Sensors

Most of floats use a SeaBird CTD.

About 200 floats (WHOI) use a FSI CTD

T accurate to 0.005 C

p accurate to 5 dbar

S accurate to 0.01 Psu

The SBE CTD unit pumps seawater through a fluid circuit;

temperature and conductivity are measured inside this loop, pressure is measured outside.

A biocide prevents fouling (growth) inside the loop.

argo profile
Argo Profile

[data from 71 levels]

ctd stability
CTD stability

UW float 063 was recovered after 3 years and recalibrated. The results showed that salinity, temperature, and pressure had all remained stable to within the manufacturer’s specifications.

iridium floats
Iridium Floats
  • About 25 iridium floats are operating (UW)

High resolution T and S data (p = 2 dbar) over a 2000 m profile sampling 1000 levels

surface time  6 minutes

iridium floats1
Iridium Floats
  • High resolution profile (75 to 1000 levels)
  • More bandwidth (required for other sensors)
  • A few min at surface vs. ~10 hours
  • Downlink available to e.g. upload new conf.
  • Collection of T and p data at drift depth
  • Data management ?
    • modem/modem, SBD, RUDICS
  • Cost ? (per byte << Argos, per profile ~= Argos)
  • Energy budget ?
new sensors
New sensors


There are plans to modify the CTD sensor

on floats in order to measure SST; this will be

done by adding a 2nd thermistor outside of the

CTD tube that will collect samples at 1 m intervals

between a depth of 20 meters and the sea surface.

Accuracy  0.05 C.

Cost  $200 per float. First tests ongoing.


There are a number of scientists interested in making

high quality measurements of SSS. This appears

to be difficult and perhaps costly and will not

be attempted soon.

new sensors1
New sensors
  • Dissolved Oxygen

CTD sensors

SBE O2 sensor

Optode sensor

new sensors2
New sensors
  • Optical/biogeochemical sensors (chlorophyll, carbon cycle, NO3, pH, …)
  • Acoustic wind/rain gauges

Rainfall and wind speed can be measured acoustically

using the spectrum of ambient acoustic noise in the ocean.

The float is drifting at a depth of 700 m …

Strong seasonal variation

new features
New features
  • Acoustically-tracked profiling floats that can operate under seasonal ice; store profiles during winter and transmit during ice-free seasons
  • Ice avoidance software
  • POPS for real-time under ice obs.
  • New battery packs (APEX +50%)
  • Alkaline vs. Lithium


  • Rapid shallow profiling
  • Electromagnetic velocity measurement
  • Iridium transmissionsswitch Argo-mode to rapid-shallow mode if floats cross a hurricane ….
  • More Info: Thomas Sanford, [email protected]
  • CBLAST  project

Hurricane Frances, 2004

  • New sensors use impacts Argo core mission
  • SST should be feasible
  • Iridium technology is ready
  • Float lifetime should be improved with the batteries
  • “Exotic” sensors should be taken into consideration in the future for other components of the GOOS …