In DepthOceanography

Billionaire's gift pushes ocean sensors deeper

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Science  08 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6355, pp. 956-957
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6355.956

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Every day, 3800 robotic floats bob up and down, tracking temperatures in the world's oceans, which sop up an estimated 90% of the heat from global warming. In the course of a decade, the international Argo array has provided one of the steadiest signatures of the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. But the floats go no deeper than 2000 meters, warded off by the crushing pressures at greater depths. Now, thanks to a $4 million investment from Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will be deploying 25 next-generation floats, dubbed Deep Argo, that can survive down to 6000 meters, enough to reach the ocean floor at all but deep trenches. If this purchase proves the system viable, scientists hope NOAA will help support a full deployment of 1200 floats, searching for an answer on how global warming is influencing the ocean's deepest, coldest depths.