Funded by European Commission
V Framework Program
Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development


Responsible OGS


The subsurface profiling float system MEDARGO


NRT observations in the water column, e.g., temperature and salinity (T/S) profiles, are of fundamental importance for the world ocean and in particular for the operational forecasting system in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Sea has in fact a particularly strong salinity contribution to density and any observing system in support of nowcasting/forecasting should consider the combined observation of temperature and salinity profiles.
As part of MFSTEP, NRT acquisition and processing of T/S profiles provided by autonomous profilers deployed throughout the Mediterranean will be implemented and tested. This will involve some hardware and software development to adapt the currently available profiler technology to the specifics of the Mediterranean environment. Along with the XBT data (WP1), the NRT data provided by the profilers will be the backbone of the data assimilation and forecast system at basin scale developed in The Previous Project. The data will be used for assimilation in WP7 and WP8. Additionally, intermediate depth (350 m) mean currents will be estimated, from the profiler displacements at their neutral depth. The profiler data will enhance the value of sea level measurements made by satellite altimeters (see WP3).
The profilers will be programmed to perform the following repetitive cycle: descend to a prescribed neutral depth (350 m), drift at that level for some time (3-7 days) and then dive down to about 700 m before ascending to the surface while collecting T/S data. During their short period at surface, the profilers will be located by, and the data will be telemetered to, the satellite Argos system. Data processing, quality control and archiving will be done at dedicated Data Centres. NRT distribution will be done through Internet and the data will be distributed on the World Weather Watch Global Telecommunication System (GTS).
Although different in details, due to the characteristics of the Mediterranean Sea, this WP, referred to as MEDARGO, is similar to the international ARGO program started in 2000. ARGO consists of a global array of T/S profiling floats to describe the evolving state of the upper world oceans and the patterns of ocean climate variability. Thus, strong interconnection is envisaged between MEDARGO and ARGO, in terms of sharing data, sharing some tools for data processing and visualization, and in terms of scientific evaluation and results.


13 July 2004

MEDARGO-MFSTEP has officially started its operational phase with the deployment of two floats at the end of June. Thanks to the efforts of the ICM team, two APEX floats were successfuly deployed on 30 June 2004. The floats have provided their first deep profiles (down to 2000 m; on 5 June) and their firstshallow profiles (down to 700 m; on 10 June) satisfactorily. Float trajectory plots are produced in near-real time at the  MEDARGO/TEDC (OGS, Trieste) and can be viewed at the following URL: MEDARGO full datasets can be visualized and downloaded in quasi-real  time through the MFSTEP Data management web site.

18 August 2004

Three APEX floats were successfully deployed on 15 and 16 August 2004 in the Tyrrhenian Sea from R/V Urania by the OGS (R. Barbanti) and CNR-ISAC (F. Bignami) teams.

17 September 2004

Four PROVOR floats were successfully deployed on 7 and 8 September2004 in the Liguro-Provencal and Algerian Basins from R/V Thetys II by the CNRS/LOB (C. Millot) team.  Their deployment locations as well as the tracks of the Catalan and Tyrrhenian floats are shown in the figure below.

15 December 2004

During this fall season six new MEDARGO floats were successfully deployed in the Mediterranean: On 26-Oct-2004, one PROVOR was deployed by the team of Jordi Font in the Alboran Sea; On 12-Nov-2004, one PROVOR was deployed by the team of Antonio Cruzado in the southern Ionian Sea concurrently with VOS XBT measurements; On 6/7-Dec-2004, four APEX were deployed by the team of Isaac Gertman in the northern Ionian and Levatine Seas concurrently with VOS XBT measurements.  Congratulations to all the above mentioned teams for the successful operations.  The MEDARGO fleet now includes 15 operating floats. Additional deployments will be made in early 2005.

1 June 2005

During this spring season new MEDARGO floats were successfully deployed in the Mediterranean. On 20-21 May 2005, two APEX floats were successfully deployed by the team of Isaac Gertman in the central Levantine basin. A total of 16 MEDARGO floats are now operating in the Mediterranean, 9 units in the western basin and 7 in the eastern basin. As of 1 June, they have provided more than 700 CTD profiles since June 2004.

12 August 2005

The MEDARGO floats have provided more than 1000 CTD profiles since the beginning of the program. As of today, 15 units are still operating and we have reached a total of 1008 profiles.

28 November 2005

The last two MEDARGO floats were successfuly deployed in the southern Ionian and Levatine Seas during the EGITTO-1 oceanographic cruise onboard R/V OGS-EXPLORA on 14-16 November 2005. In addition, 3 floats provided by the France Argo program were deployed. They all have the MEDARGO cycling and sampling characteristics. Thank you to the OGS and LOB/CNRS teams for these successful deployments. As of today, 18 floats are still operating in most areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Since July 2004, the MEDARGO floats have provided more than 1300 CTD profiles.

APEX float being deployed from VOS Britain Star (7 Dec 2004)

Workpackage Coordinator: Dr. Pierre-Marie Poulain (OGS, Italy)
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