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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,

  • 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 …