The AtlantOS initiative contributes to achieving the aims of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation that was signed in 2013 by the EU, Canada and the US, launching a Transatlantic Ocean Research Alliance to enhance collaboration to better understand the Atlantic Ocean and sustainably manage and use its resources.

AtlantOS is a H2020 research and innovation project coordinated by the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany) that proposes the integration of ocean observing activities across all disciplines for the Atlantic. It is made up of eleven work packages, organised in themes on: 

  • Observing system requirements and design studies (OSSE)
  • Enhancement of ship-based and autonomous observing networks
  • Interfaces with coastal ocean observing systems
  • Integrated regional observing systems (climate and fisheries)
  • Cross-cutting issues and emerging networks
  • Data flow and data integration
  • Social benefits from observing/information systems
  • System evaluation and sustainability

Links between the project work packages are summarized in the project logic diagram below. AtlantOS takes strategic guidance from the Framework of Ocean Observing developed by the post OceanObs‘09 task team applying an engineering system thinking to ocean observing; considering the input/requirements (orange), the process/observations (purple) and the output/data & products (green) to feed scientific and societal benefits. 

The Euro-Argo ERIC is leading the task related to Argo evolution (task 3.1) in WP3: “Enhancement of autonomous observing networks”. The overall budget for this task is 1.650 M€ and the Euro-Argo ERIC is in charge of float purchase (7 Deep Argo and 6 Biogeochemical (BGC) Argo floats for 580 k€) and organising their deployment. The AtlantOS proposal, integrating the Euro-Argo ERIC contribution, was accepted in December 2015.


With contributions from Ifremer, LOV, GEOMAR and its partners, the Euro-Argo ERIC aims at contributing to the progressive extension of the Argo core mission towards the deep ocean and biogeochemistry, and develop long-term plans.

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. Three main objectives are assigned to the task 3.1 « Argo Evolution » lead by Euro-Argo:

  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 BGC-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 organisation 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 BGC-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.