Argo Data 1999–2019: Two Million Temperature-Salinity Profiles and Subsurface Velocity Observations From a Global Array of Profiling Floats

Annie P.S. Wong, Susan E. Wijffels, Stephen C. Riser, Sylvie Pouliquen, Shigeki Hosoda, Dean Roemmich, John Gilson, Gregory C. Johnson, Kim Martini, David J. Murphy, Megan Scanderbeg, T. V.S.Udaya Bhaskar, Justin J.H. Buck, Frederic Merceur, Thierry Carval, Guillaume Maze, Cécile Cabanes, Xavier André, Noé Poffa, Igor YashayaevPaul M. Barker, Stéphanie Guinehut, Mathieu Belbéoch, Mark Ignaszewski, Molly O.Neil Baringer, Claudia Schmid, John M. Lyman, Kristene E. McTaggart, Sarah G. Purkey, Nathalie Zilberman, Matthew B. Alkire, Dana Swift, W. Brechner Owens, Steven R. Jayne, Cora Hersh, Pelle Robbins, Deb West-Mack, Frank Bahr, Sachiko Yoshida, Philip J.H. Sutton, Romain Cancouët, Christine Coatanoan, Delphine Dobbler, Andrea Garcia Juan, Jerôme Gourrion, Nicolas Kolodziejczyk, Vincent Bernard, Bernard Bourlès, Hervé Claustre, Fabrizio D'Ortenzio, Serge Le Reste, Pierre Yve Le Traon, Jean Philippe Rannou, Carole Saout-Grit, Sabrina Speich, Virginie Thierry, Nathalie Verbrugge, Ingrid M. Angel-Benavides, Birgit Klein, Giulio Notarstefano, Pierre Marie Poulain, Pedro Vélez-Belchí, Toshio Suga, Kentaro Ando, Naoto Iwasaska, Taiyo Kobayashi, Shuhei Masuda, Eitarou Oka, Kanako Sato, Tomoaki Nakamura, Katsunari Sato, Yasushi Takatsuki, Takashi Yoshida, Rebecca Cowley, Jenny L. Lovell, Peter R. Oke, Esmee M. van Wijk, Fiona Carse, Matthew Donnelly, W. John Gould, Katie Gowers, Brian A. King, Stephen G. Loch, Mary Mowat, Jon Turton, E. Pattabhi Rama Rao, M. Ravichandran, Howard J. Freeland, Isabelle Gaboury, Denis Gilbert, Blair J.W. Greenan, Mathieu Ouellet, Tetjana Ross, Anh Tran, Mingmei Dong, Zenghong Liu, Jianping Xu, Ki Ryong Kang, Hyeong Jun Jo, Sung Dae Kim, Hyuk Min Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


In the past two decades, the Argo Program has collected, processed, and distributed over two million vertical profiles of temperature and salinity from the upper two kilometers of the global ocean. A similar number of subsurface velocity observations near 1,000 dbar have also been collected. This paper recounts the history of the global Argo Program, from its aspiration arising out of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment, to the development and implementation of its instrumentation and telecommunication systems, and the various technical problems encountered. We describe the Argo data system and its quality control procedures, and the gradual changes in the vertical resolution and spatial coverage of Argo data from 1999 to 2019. The accuracies of the float data have been assessed by comparison with high-quality shipboard measurements, and are concluded to be 0.002°C for temperature, 2.4 dbar for pressure, and 0.01 PSS-78 for salinity, after delayed-mode adjustments. Finally, the challenges faced by the vision of an expanding Argo Program beyond 2020 are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number700
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept 15


  • Argo
  • floats
  • global
  • ocean
  • pressure
  • profiling
  • salinity
  • temperature


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