Our oceans are becoming extremely important: their warming, the destruction of coral reefs, the oceans' salinity and acidity, and ultimately, their ability to act as massive carbon sinks. Up until now we have had surprisingly little information regarding the state of our oceans, save for the pioneering work of researchers and activists and the little funding they have available. A fundamental shift in data collection, however, is set to change as the Argo Program
has just completed laying out their network of 3,000 robotic sensors.
The international program, using 1.5m drifting floats that are disbursed around the world's oceans, is currently in the finalizing stages of setting up their data collection systems. These robotic floats will drift over a period of 10 days, submerging themselves at a depth of 1000m and finally to 2000m before they ascend and transmit their data to a satellite, after which they will repeat the process. Ultimately, the program hopes to gather over 100,000 data transmissions annually and report on the climate state of the oceans, providing this data and findings to the public.
The hopes are that this project, which has been ongoing for the last seven years, "will allow us to grapple with some of the big climate questions, as well as provide insight into how the ever-changing ocean weather affects marine ecosystems".
It's never been more important to understand exactly what's going on in our oceans. Let's hope the Argobots start reporting some promising data soon!