It’s a float’s life: the 10-day cycle of data collection.
NIWA research vessels, criss-crossing the Pacific, are making a major contribution to Argo, the international ocean observation programme.
Argo aims to maintain a global network of high-tech floats measuring currents, temperature, and salinity in the upper ocean. ‘Filling the remote South Pacific was always going to be a big challenge,’ says Professor Dean Roemmich of Scripps Institution of Oceanography (San Diego, USA).
That’s where NIWA came in. Since February last year, NIWA’s 28-metre research vessel, Kaharoa, has deployed more than 200 floats and clocked up over 40 000 nautical miles on Argo missions. ‘The moderate cost and long range of Kaharoa make it an attractive option’, says Professor Roemmich. Further voyages are planned to Chile and California, and to Mauritius. NIWA’s 70-metre vessel, Tangaroa, recently deployed Argo floats in the Southern Ocean.