Describe and forecast the state of the ocean is one of the 21st century challenges
A new step has been acheived within the Argo project that aoms at observing the global ocean from 2000m to surface: the 3000 target has been reached. Now the challenge will be to maintain that network which means to deploy about 800 floats per year to replace the one who finished their mission.
In 1998 an international consortium presented plans for an array of 3000 autonomous instruments that would revolutionize the collection of critical information from the upper, climatically important, layers of the worlds' oceans. That vision is now a reality and the Argo array of profiling floats has reached its target and each year provides over 100,000 high-quality temperature and salinity profiles and global-scale data on ocean currents. This is a factor of 20 greater than the rate of collection of comparable ship-based profile measurements and provides immediate access to high quality data throughout the oceans, without seasonal bias. (Most ship measurements, particularly in high latitude regions, are made in the summer season).
It a major contribution to the international GODAE experiment (Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment). France deeply involved in Godae through MERCATOR-Ocean ( Forcasting center) , CORIOLIS ( in-situ observations) CERSAT & Jason (satellite observations). The objective is to set up an integrated system for monitoring and forecasting the state of the ocean at global and regional scales. Multiples applications will use these products : ocean & climate, environment monitoring, security and maritime transport, oil spill forecast and monitoring, offshore application,...