Argo floats

Argo floats are autonomous robotic floats that can be deployed to repeatedly gather data about ocean conditions from the surface to 2000 m depth.

What they're used for

Argo float is deployed from RV Investigator.

Argo floats are a network of 3600 free-floating sensors, operating in open ocean areas that provide real-time data on ocean temperature and salinity.

Argo robotic floats provide essential and in situ data for ocean and climate research and prediction. They are the only means to collect the subsurface observations needed to provide year-round, near real-time information on ocean conditions.

Improving our understanding of ocean conditions will enable us to forecast climate and ocean conditions more accurately.

CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere operates Argo Australia, which is a component of the Integrated Marine Observing System, IMOS. Argo floats are deployed, real-time processed, and delayed-mode processed at CSIRO. Argo Australia is operated by CSIRO with cash and operational support from the Bureau of Meteorology, financial support from IMOS, CSIRO, the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre and the Australian Government Environment Department.

How they work

The individual floats drift at depths of between 1 and 2 km, before ascending to the surface every ten days, measuring temperature and salinity as it rises. The data are then transmitted to satellites, before the float dives and starts a new cycle.

Key considerations

Argo floats are not a part of RV Investigator’s equipment but their deployment and retrieval form an important part of the work carried out by the Marine National Facility.