Euro-Argo is the European contribution to the international Argo programme, which encompasses the deployment of currently over 3000 floats worldwide.
Floats are autonomously operating bouys. Similar to registering balloons, they measure temperature and salinity of the sea water. For nine days, they drift with the current, sinking from the sea surface to depths of 2000 metres, permanenly collecting data. On day ten, they resurface to transmit their data to a satellite.
Euro-Argo aims at expanding the European fleet to 800 floats in 2010, and to maintain that number permanenty. As every float has a life expectancy of approx. four years, the European partners will need to deploy around 250 new floats each year. This would constitute an important contribution to international climate and environmental research.
The German partners contribute mainly in the scope of their key research areas: The IFM-GEOMAR in Kiel focusses on the tropical Atlantic, the Centre for Marine and Climate Research in Hamburg is working in subarctic seas and the Alfred-Wegener-Institute in Bremerhaven is responsible for the Polar Seas and the Weddel Sea. Furthermore, the KDM partners are working on improving the float technology: They develop new sensors or provide the floats with the ability to locate ice shields.
Animation of the Float-Cycle (Copyright: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio)