Argo is an international array of more than 3000 profiling floats that measure temperature and salinity throughout the deep global oceans, down to 2000m. It is the single most important global in-situ observing system for the Copernicus Marine Service ( Euro-Argo counts about 750 floats, the Bio-geochemical and Deep-Argo floats are currently deployed for global and regional observations through pilot experiments. The present technology innovations make an evolution of Argo towards new observations missions possible in the coming decade. 

Within the AtlantOS ( H2020 project (2015-2019), the work package 3 is dedicated to development of existing autonomous observing networks. As a prerequisite for the long-term sustainability of a future integrated observation system covering the entire Atlantic, several objectives will be met through the work in this work package 3:

  • Enhancement of autonomous observation networks to promote use of the most cost-effective way to measure essential ocean variables
  • Acquisition of more integrated data for a holistic understanding of variations in the Atlantic system
  • Implementation of more cost-effective platforms with improved long-term capabilities
  • Fill the observational gaps for certain under-sampled areas (e.g. southern Atlantic), for some periods (e.g. harsh winter conditions in sub-polar North Atlantic), and for new variables (biology including (meta)genomic, biogeochemistry)
  • Provide significant innovation potentials for SMEs
  • Improve the access to and usability of the data-system that will be implemented and integrated with other observation systems into a knowledge base
  • Develop management and innovation procedures to yield enhanced and integrated international observation networks and a sustainable European and Transatlantic infrastructure

The global objective for the autonomous ocean observation technologies is to reduce the costs of in-situ ocean observation, but so far there is a need to optimize them to integrate the biological and ecosystem dimensions into observing systems. Inside WP3, the Euro-Argo ERIC leads one task relative to the « Argo Evolution » with three main objectives assigned: 

  1. The extension of the core Argo mission towards the deep ocean, towards biogeochemistry and the development of more cost-effective platforms by testing the implementation of new sensors (e.g. pCO2 optode)
  2. The production of a consistent Argo and Bio-Argo validated dataset for the Atlantic Ocean, with a specific focus on deep CTD and oxygen data and chlorophyll-a, backscattering and nitrate data
  3. The development of actions related to the future sustainability of the Bio-Argo and Deep-Argo components of the Argo programme, by developing international partnership and long-term agreements with the Euro-Argo members for the organization and funding of these new phases of Argo. 


The objective of the Network of Autonomous Ocean observations, coordinated in WP3, is to promote the use of the most cost-effective way to measure Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) and the integration of all mature autonomous observing networks comprising innovative platforms with multidisciplinary sensor modules. Further standardization, integration and innovation in sensing and sampling capacities across these networks provide tremendous innovation potential for SMEs. Coordinated enhancement of spatial and temporal resolution will improve the data flow substantially, with a focus on key environmental pressures and societal challenges defined in GEO (Group on Earth Observations). The aim is also to foster trans-Atlantic cooperation. 


The Euro-Argo ERIC organises WP3/Task 3.1 relative to Argo observing network, through 5 actions: 

  • Deploy 7 deep-oxygen in the North-Atlantic, complementing 30 floats already funded at national and European level,
  • Deploy 6 Bio-Argo floats in the North-Atlantic to enhance the actual network of 60 floats and 60 O2-floats funded at national level in various biogeochemical provinces of the Atlantic,
  • Work on improving Bio-Argo float capabilities, especially to adapt novel optode-based sensors for CO2 and O2 partial pressure and new pH sensors,
  • Refine Delayed-Mode QC processing and achieve the objective to deliver a consistent Argo and Bio-Argo dataset for the Atlantic, in particular for dissolved oxygen concentration and chlorophyll,
  • Work on the long-term sustainability issues for Bio-Argo and Deep-Argo after the AtlantOS pilot project. Longer-term targets for Europe will be defined and the Euro-Argo ERIC will seek agreements at ministerial level and with EU for their implementation, in liaison with international partners. 

Ifremer plans also to develop an Autonomous System for Argo float Release (ASFAR) that will be able to deploy 4 floats at predetermined date. Included are costs for the ASFAR frame, for acoustic and Argos transmitters.