What we refer to as the ARGO array, is a network of ‘mini laboratories’ dropped into the ocean by ships and ideally left drifting at 3° X 3° or every 330km intervals across all the oceans of the world.
Composition of Argo Float.
These ‘labs’ or floats as they are called, once deployed, transmits its position to a series of overhead satellites called Jason, Poseidon and Topex, and communicates to the satellite that it has set itself in what is called ‘mission mode’.
Within 30 minutes of deployment, the ‘float’ sinks by automatically changing its displacement to the 1000m level where it remains floating in that current for 9 days. At the end of day 9, the float sinks again to 2000m below sea level and immediately begins a slow ascent to the surface taking a series of samples from the water column.
These samples are temperature, sea water chemistry change, salinity, current and Co₂ content of the oceans and finally on the surface, the sea level. (Sea level is not constant throughout the oceans as anomalies are caused by underwater obstructions, hot or cold and currents as well as melting ice together with differences in temperature)
Download the PDF version of the Argo brochure we made the cover for our millionth transmission! : Argo_Brochure2012