3256 Argo Floats

December 2010




* CANADA 1129) « FINLAND (!) » INDIA (73) • MAURITIUS (2) • POLAND«!]


* UNITED KINGDOM 11091 JtOfnm pj

Fig. 3.6 The global distribution Argo profiling floats locations reporting on the Argo data system as on December 2010. (Source: JCOMMOPS)

due to Argo profile data has been demonstrated (Balmaseda and Anderson 2009), even during the period prior to full deployment of the Argo array. The combination of Argo (provides spatial coverage) and moorings provides the high temporal resolution needed for equatorial wave propagation and intra-seasonal variability and also for observing tropical variability at greater depth (Matthews et al. 2007), and beyond the equatorial band and in all oceans (Cai et al. 2005). Data from Argo and RAMA were used to illustrate air-sea interaction contributing to the growth of the devastating 2008 tropical cyclone Nargis (McPhaden et al. 2009c).

Heat and fresh water are fundamental elements of climate, and climate variability can be quantified by tracking heat and fresh water as they are transported and stored, and exchanged between, the atmosphere, oceans, land, and cryosphere. The temperature and salinity profile measurements over the global ocean provides the estimates of both the storage and large-scale transport of heat and freshwater (Freeland et al. 2009 and reference therein). Although Argo is able to provide information on the ocean's role in the planetary heat and water budgets, the important contributions of boundary currents (Send et al. 2009) in ocean heat transport and of the abyssal oceans in heat storage are not yet adequately observed since the boundary currents, fronts, and eddies require finer resolution in the observing sampling rages. The most direct effect from the ocean comes from the surface effect i.e. sea surface temperature as well as sea level variability. Satellites provide global views of sea surface temperature and, in future, sea surface salinity. These data require in-situ measurements for calibration purposes, and for their interpretation. Argo can help satisfy both of these requirements. For example, Uday Bhaskar et al. (2009), using satellite and in-situ data, have shown that Argo near surface temperature (5 or 10 m) can be used as SST in the Indian Ocean. Argo's observation of surface layer structure globally, contributes to studies of atmosphere-ocean interactions (Freeland et al. 2009 and references therein).

Ocean salinity is an important component (indicator) of the "global water cycle" variability. It provides information on the exchange of freshwater with the atmosphere (e.g., evaporation, precipitation) and with the terrestrial and cryospheric components of the global climate system, and on storage within the ocean. Ocean salinity is a fundamental ocean state variable and a tracer of ocean circulation—an important dynamical ocean process that governs the uptake and redistribution of ocean heat and carbon, which are critical elements of the global climate system. Thus to understand and predict the global water cycle in the context of global climate change it be only be fully realized with the understanding of the marine branch of the hydrological cycle. Also ocean salinity changes have a direct impact on the exchange of CO2 between ocean and atmosphere and may affect marine species and ecosystems.

Current knowledge of ocean salinity variability is hampered by a lack of enough long-term salinity records. Available observations indicate that remarkable changes of ocean salinity are underway in some regions. Unfortunately, it is unclear if these changes are attributable to natural variations, what processes may be involved, how they may or may not be consistent with changes in other components (e.g., precipitation) of the global water cycle, how long such changes have been underway, or how widespread they might be. The Argo float observation network is a critical component of a global salinity observing system.

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