National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2024

After two decades, Argo at PMEL, looks to the future

Johnson, G.C., and A.J. Fassbender

Oceanography, 36(2–3), 54–59, doi: 10.5670/oceanog.2023.223, View open access article online at Oceanography (external link) (2023)

The NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) has contributed to the revolutionary Argo ocean observing system since its inception, developing CTD calibration algorithms and software that have been adopted by the international Argo community. PMEL has also provided over 1,440 Argo floats—~13% of the global array—with ~500 currently active. PMEL scientific contributions using Argo data have ranged from regional to global analyses of ocean circulation and water-mass variability, to ocean warming and its contributions to sea level rise and Earth’s energy imbalance, to estimates of global ocean deoxygenation. In recent years, PMEL has initiated both Deep Argo (with a regional pilot array of full-ocean-depth profiling floats in the rapidly changing and dynamic western South Atlantic) and Biogeochemical (BGC) Argo (with a pilot array in the biogeochemically diverse and economically important California Current Large Marine Ecosystem). PMEL is also developing innovative near-global maps of ocean physical and biogeochemical parameters using machine learning algorithms that enable investigations of societally important oceanographic phenomena, and an Adopt-A-Float program. Future challenges include growing the financial, infrastructure, and human resources necessary to take the Deep and BGC Argo missions global and to fulfill the One Argo mission of a global, full-depth, multidisciplinary ocean observing array.

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