Argo is a revolutionary concept for measurement of temperature and salinity, along with reference level velocities, through the upper 2000 metres of the Ocean in real time. Data from Argo floats would contribute to the global description of the seasonal and inter-annual variability of the upper ocean thermohaline circulation and would enhance climate predictability.

Once deployed, each Argo float descends to as deep as 2000 metres where it drifts with the currents. After a typical period of 10 days, it slowly rises to the surface measuring temperature and salinity profiles. At the surface, it relays this information to Satellites for immediate availability via the Global Telecommunication System and on the Internet after quality checks. It then sinks to begin another cycle. The expected life of an Argo float is about four years.

The Argo Programme, endorsed by World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), is coordinated internationally by an Argo Science Team. The international ocean community plans to deploy 3000 Argo Floats in a phased manner by the year 2004-05 to give a global coverage of 300 km. The Indian Ocean would be covered by about 450 Argo floats. India would contribute 150 Floats in the Indian Ocean. Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, UK and USA have also committed to deploy Argo Floats in the Indian Ocean Region.

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