Last chance to write on dry land – Part 2

Tags: Emily Venables, Simon Boxall

ARGO float launch

We still don’t know if we can expect anything else to be in our container than toothbrushes but we hope to find our ARGO float somewhere in there.

Let me tell you a little more about these fantastic pieces of kit. Observing the ocean is a costly and time consuming business. As our crew will soon find out, dangling a temperature and salinity probe over the side of the boat then hauling it up again takes a while and gives us one single profile of temperature and salinity – a speck in the ocean and a snapshot in time. ARGO floats are like self contained profilers, sinking to whatever depth we tell them to and then travelling along with an ocean current and popping up when we tell them to, transmitting temperature and salinity information back to the ARGOS satellite array, then sinking again for another cycle.

The first float was deployed in 2001 and there are now 3148 bobbing around the ocean.


The image below shows the world distribution of floats, 98 of which have been deployed by the UK. You can also look at them on Google Earth.

Argo Floats around the world

Simon’s going to say some more about where the next float will be deployed (see the gap at the top right just after the red dots!), but for those of you who remember Arty Bob, I’d like to assure you he’s still going strong, albeit round in circles, providing very useful information in the circulation of the Nordic Seas.


You can see his path here (Bob is the lonely red dot on the top).

Looking forward to keeping you all posted with our progress – please go ahead and ask me questions. You can also look at The Scottish Association for Marine Science for more information about my work and about change in the Arctic.

Cheers, Em :o)


  1. Rachel

    Posted Friday 26 Sep at 11:46 | Permalink

    Good luck BOBs one and all.

    Looking forward to the first ship-bound blogging!

  2. kate

    Posted Saturday 27 Sep at 14:25 | Permalink

    for martha:

    when…the…ice starts to break leaving rocks in its wake
    that’s a moraine
    (or something like that)