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argo float operation

A fleet of floats

Robotic floats — drifting instruments that measure ocean temperature and salinity — provide continuous monitoring of upper ocean conditions. Each float sinks to depths of 2,000 meters, drifts with ocean currents for ten days, rises to the surface taking measurements along the way, and then transmits data back to shore via satellite. As part of the Argo network, 3,000 floats have been dispatched through the world’s oceans since 2000. WHOI researchers utilized new data collected by floats adrift in the Labrador and Irminger Seas during a recent study of ocean circulation. (Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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