1. Research Users : climate change and global warming
The oceans cover 70% of the earth and though their surface can be seen from space, learning about conditions below the surface on a global scale has only been possible in the past decade thanks to Argo. Ocean measurements are essential if we are to understand earth’s climate, to make predictions of how it will change under natural variability and due to human influences and to address such practical problems as sea level rise and regional changes in rainfall and temperature.
The oceans have a fundamental influence on our climate and weather, both of which are affected by changes in the currents and heat content of the ocean. Argo is a unique system to monitor heat and salt transport and storage, ocean circulation and global overturning changes and to understand the ability of the ocean to absorb excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Over the past 50 years, the oceans have absorbed more than 80% of the Earth warming due to the anthropogenic increase of greenhouse gas concentration. Euro-Argo will develop further a leading role of Europe in global ocean observations and in ocean and climate research.
The on going climate change have great environmental and socio-economic consequences :
- The temperature rising and the growing acidification of the oceans due to the anthropogenic increase of greenhouse gas concentration modify the geographical spreading out of marine species : the local economy may be influenced by those migrations.
- The global warming causes also extreme events inducing damages increasingly costly for governments,and forced displacement of populations with important social consequences.
- Coastal urbanized areas concerned by a sea-level rise will be also a key issue for our modern society.
Such examples show major issues of the new European contribution to Argo. All impact studies and demonstration cases developped in the "Main achievements" pages shall demonstrate the use of Argo in a variety of applications, and where possible to assess its impact.
2. Operational users : Operational Oceanography and the GMES Marine Core Service
Euro-Argo has developed a legal framework within which nationally funded contributions can co-exist with contributions to the global project from the European Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES). (for more details, see http://www.gmes.info/). Argo is the single most important in-situ observing system required for the GMES Marine Core Service (MCS). Argo and satellite data are assimilated into MCS models used to deliver regular and systematic reference information on the state of the ocean for the global ocean and the main European seas. Particularly, marine transport, marine industry, marine safety at sea (search and rescue) and fisheries need real-time data to build marine products (shipping, fishery, tourism) and forecasts about marine environment and weather.
3. Educational applications for general public : reaching beyond scientists
A unique attribute of Argo data is its easy availability via the World Wide. This has been linked with the powerful Google Earth GIS tool to allow the general public to look at Argo data and, without having to go to sea, to learn something about how the oceans work and why they are important for the earth’s climate. This outreach is important because it is ultimately the general public as taxpayers who pay for Argo and it is they who will eventually benefit through improved weather and climate forecasts and through warnings of disasters.
To access directly to the Educational Euro-Argo Web Site, follow this link.