Float Tracks: Argo (buoy surface animation)

Float Tracks: Argo (buoy surface animation) thumbnail


"Argo is a global array of 3,000 free-drifting profiling floats that measures the temperature and salinity of the upper 2000 m of the ocean. This allows, for the first time, continuous monitoring of the temperature, salinity, and velocity of the upper ocean, with all data being relayed and made publicly available within hours after collection." - from the Argo website. In Greek mythology, Jason sailed on the ship Argo to capture a golden fleece. In the world of oceanography, Jason is a satellite altimeter that allows scientists to measure the heights of the ocean surfaces. This worldwide buoy program was named Argo because the data from the Jason project and from this buoy project will be used together in computer models to help forecast ocean climate.

This animation shows the surface movement due to ocean currents over a six-month period during 2005. Each dot in the ocean represents one of the Argo floats. They are distributed roughly every 185 miles over the oceans. During the six-month period used for the visualization, many deployments were still taking place. A sudden appearance of a line of dots represents new floats being deployed off of a research ship. Deployment began in 2000 and by the end of 2005, 75% of the network was in place.

Notable Features

  • Each dot is an Argo float
  • Dots suddenly appearing in a line, represent new floats being deployed
  • The buoys move with the ocean currents

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