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Argo Floats are robots that float at different depths in the sea collecting information. Every 10 days they float to the surface and send their data to a satellite.
An Argo Float is a steel float weighing about 25kg, with instruments inside. An Argo float is able to do three things:
By changing its own buoyancy, an Argo Float is able to float at different depths. Every 10 days the Argo Float returns to the surface to send information to satellites. This information is called a 'profile'.
A fun and quirky YouTube video animation that explains what an Argo float is, how it operates and how the data helps us understand ocean circulation and climate.
While the Argo Float is underwater it measures three things about the ocean:
An Argo Float measures:
Note that 1decibar (db) of pressure is equal to about 1 metre of depth. So 1,000db is about 1,000m below the sea surface.
While the Argo Float is on the sea surface it sends its information to a satellite.
Regular Argo Floats are designed to be strong enough to descend to 2,000m below the surface of the sea. At a depth below 2,600m they will crush and be destroyed.
Deep Argo Floats are designed to go down to depths as far as 5,000m. Deep Argo floats are glass spheres not metal cylinders.