The PEACH science team is deploying four Argo floats during the two week research cruise on the R/V Neil Armstrong. The Argo floats are part of a world wide network of vertical profiling floats providing upper ocean observations. Deployments of the first Argo floats began in 2000 with an additional 800 floats added on average each year. Currently, as of April 21, 2017, there are 3938 active Argo floats around the world.
Argo floats are long lasting, expendable vertical profiling observing platforms. Argo floats profile vertically through buoyancy changes by pumping oil between bladders inside and outside of the device. Argo floats carry conductivity, temperature and depth sensors as well as GPS sensors and an Iridium satellite antennae. While Argo floats can move up and down within the water column, they are drifters and are at the mercy of ocean currents to carry them to new locations.
Argo floats are made to easily deployable, not only by scientists, but also off of cargo ships and merchant vessels. Argo floats are shipped in biodegradable packaging and are meant to be deployed by lowering them to the water and letting them drift while underway. Specially designed biodegradable tape frees the argo float from its packaging and allows the float to begin its dive.
Argo float sampling cycles are ten days in duration. On the first day, the float descends to 1000 meters where it stays for 10 days before diving to 2000 meters and returning to the surface. Measurements are recorded on the ascent, logging data internally. Once at the surface, data are sent back to land via the Iridium satellite network. After communications finish, the Argo float begins the 10 day cycle again and dives. Argo floats have an average life of five years, or approximately 200 vertical profiles.
For more information on other Argo floats deployed on the PEACH cruise on the the R/V Neil Armstrong, click HERE.
For more information on Argo Floats, visit: http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/
For more information on the PEACH project, please click HERE.