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Technology Factsheet

Bio Argo Float

Category: Robotics > Characterization and Inspection > Underwater System
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The ‘Bio Argo’ floats, are used to measure large-scale changes in the chemistry and biology of marine ecosystems below the Indian Ocean’s surface.

The Argo floats are a network of 3600 free-floating sensors, operating in open ocean areas that provide real-time data on ocean temperature and salinity. They include additional sensors for dissolved oxygen, nitrate, chlorophyll, dissolved organic matter, and particle scattering. They will target specific gaps in the understanding of Indian Ocean ecosystems of immediate concern to India and Australia, such as the Bay of Bengal and the waters of north Western Australia.

Site: *
Industry:Maritime
Size:Very Large (>100kg/200lb, >120cm/48in)
TRL:Operational (9)
TRL2: *
Tether: *
Waterproof: *
Payload: *
Reach: *
Manipulator: *

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Argo is a system for observing temperature, salinity, and currents in the Earth's oceans which has been operational since the early 2000s. The real-time data it provides is used in climate and oceanographic research. The Argo program is a collaborative partnership of more than 30 nations from all continents (most shown on the graphic map to the right) to provide a seamless global array allowing any country to explore the ocean environment. Argo is a key component of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

The floats have a pressure case made of aluminium that is about 1.3m long and about 20cm diameter. They weigh about 40kg. On the top is an antenna to communicate with the satellites that fix the float's position and receive the data. Also on the top are the temperature and salinity sensors. At the bottom of the float in a protective cover is a bladder that is connected to the inside of the float. The floats are designed so that with the bladder empty they have the same density as seawater at the depth at which they drift. They are also designed to be less compressible than sea water. This keeps them stable at depth.

See also article Bio Robots in Indian Ocean

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