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Features May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2
   

Argo and the Drifters

 
     

No, it’s not a fifties rock band. They’re actually two programs that use scientific instruments to monitor important changes throughout the world’s oceans.

The Global Drifter Program (GDP), largely led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, recently deployed its 1,250th buoy into waters off Canada, fulfilling its goal of blanketing the globe with data-collecting instruments.

“If you want to know what’s happening in your backyard, or you want to know what’s happening on a global basis, these data will help you,” says Peter Niiler, who helped toss the ceremonial buoy into waters off Halifax, Nova Scotia, on September 18.

A second program using a different type of instrument recently marked an important milestone of its own. Researchers with the Argo program have deployed the 2,000th instrument of an eventual 3,000-strong global array of instruments called floats.

“Argo data are being used by researchers and operational centers in many countries,” says Scripps’ John Gould, Argo project director.

Because of their unique ability to gather previously unobtainable data, GDP and Argo are supplying important information to help scientists and others better understand ocean processes, track climate change and forecast and monitor phenomena such as El Niño.

 

RELATED LINKS

Scripps Institution of Oceanography
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The Oceans and Global Change
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"If you want to know what’s happening in your backyard, or you want to know what’s happening on a global basis, these data will help you."