Core Argo floats

The Argo array is currently comprised of several float models:

  • ARVOR built by NKE-INSTRUMENTATION in France in close collaboration with IFREMER.  Its predecessor is the PROVOR float.
  • APEX float produced by Teledyne Webb Research
  • SOLO-II which was designed and built by Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  Its predecessor is the SOLO float.
  • S2A float is produced by MRV Systems in the USA who bought the rights to the SOLO-II and manufactures it under the rebranded name of the S2A float
  • NAVIS built by Sea-Bird in the USA

There are a handful of other floats used in Argo as well, but not in large numbers.  These include the NOVA, NEMO and HM2000 floats.  Pictures of floats are below.  Schematics are found here.

The SBE temperature/salinity sensor is now used almost exclusively on core Argo floats and is the only approved CTD. In the beginning, the FSI sensor was also used. Now there is an RBR CTD that is in the pilot phase.  The temperature data are accurate to a few millidegrees over the float lifetime. For discussion of salinity data accuracy please see the Data FAQ.  For more information on technical limitations for floats, click here.

Deep Argo floats

Two deep Argo floats are designed to go to 6000m (Deep SOLO and Deep APEX) with an SBE-61 CTD designed for 6000m.  Deep SOLO floats were developed at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and were licensed to MRV Systems for commercial production.  Deep APEX floats are made by Teledyne Webb.

Two other deep Argo floats are designed to go to 4000m (Deep Arvor and Deep NINJA) with an extended depth SBE-41 CTD.  Deep Arvor floats are made by NKE and Deep NINJA floats were developed in collaboration with Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and Tsurumi-Seiki Co., Ltd. (TSK), and are manufactured by TSK for commercial production.

Pictures of floats are below.  Schematics are found here.

BGC-Argo floats

Several core floats also have BGC versions including the PROVOR CTS, APEX BioGeoChem, and the NAVIS-BGCi floats. For more detailed information on the BGC-Argo mission, click here.  Pictures of floats are below.  Schematics are found here.