The swamped buoy in the Georgian Bank is one of dozens deployed in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and
Named for the ship in Greek mythology that Jason used in his search for the Golden Fleece, Argo is an ambitious, multi-national program to monitor every ocean of the world. More than 3,000 autonomous buoys have been deployed by nearly two dozen countries literally around the world, providing, for the first time, real-time information to researchers and operational centers, revolutionizing the collection of information from inside the oceans.
The self-operating buoys are an engineering marvel. Each of the devices spends 10 hours at the surface transmitting data to an orbiting satellite. When the transmission is complete, the Argo buoy descends to a depth of 1,000 meters where it records salinity levels, ocean currents and water temperatures.
The buoy remains submerged, essentially drifting in the deep ocean water, for eight to 10 days before descending to a depth of 2,000 meters where more recordings and measurements of the ocean are made. Finally, the buoy returns to the ocean surface to transmit information and begin the cycle once more.
"Completion of the full implementation of the Argo float program is the first step in a truly global ocean-observing system that will help warn society of threatening climate change," said James Baker, former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Argo program began in 1998 during Baker's tenure at NOAA….