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The Argo Float programme

The Argo Float programme involves scientists from 45 countries. The purpose of the programme is to collect data about the oceans and help us learn more about climate and weather.

Why ‘Argo’?

The name ‘argo’ comes from an old Greek story. 

Jason was a hero who travelled on a voyage in search of the Golden Fleece. The Golden Fleece was the fleece of a gold-hair ram and was a symbol of authority and kingship. The Golden Fleece would help his father get his kingdom back from King Pelias. 

Jason gathered a team of 50 people and started his voyage on a ship called 'Argo'. Together they were known as the 'Argonauts'.

The name argo from the Greek story was chosen as the name of the robotic floats to emphasize the strong relationship between data from Jason (the satellite) and data from the Argo Floats.

The purpose of the programme

The Argo Float Programme will:

  1. Provide data about the changing state of the upper ocean
  2. Help us understand the way climate changes over time

The data sent from Argo Floats to satellites is available in real time, free to any scientist (including you!) in the world. Today (May 2014) there are 3,560 regular Argo Floats. These are spread evenly around the ice-free areas of the world’s oceans.

Working together

The Argo Float programme is an example of successful international co-operation. Scientists from 45 different countries have worked together and agreed on how Argo data should be collected and used. 

Adopting your own Argo Float

The best way to adopt an Argo Float is to install the Google Earth Argo ApplicationExternal link and select a float of your choice to follow - there are plenty to choose from all over the planet. (see also the page on Collecting and Analysing Argo Float Data)


The Argo Float Programme logo. Image source


Details of Argo Float #5903777 on Google Earth.

Next step learning:  write down three advantages you can think of in scientists working together rather than all by themselves.