In DepthOceanography

U.S. funds new fleet of probes to explore ocean biogeochemistry

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Science  30 Oct 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6516, pp. 511-512
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6516.511

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Summary

The National Science Foundation announced this week it will spend $53 million over the next 5 years to buy a fleet of 500 autonomous ocean floats studded with biogeochemical sensors for deployment across the world's oceans. The move is the first major expansion of the international Argo array, a set of 4000 floats that for 15 years has tracked rising ocean temperatures and changing salinity. Phytoplankton in the ocean pump out more than half of the planet's oxygen, while slowing climate change by capturing an estimated 25% of the carbon dioxide released by humanity's burning of fossil fuels. But very little is known about whether this will change with further warming. The floats, which have been tested for nearly 10 years in the Southern Ocean, travel down to 2000 meters and will help fill in major gaps about the present state of the oceans—and their future.

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