Interior Ocean Carbon

coordinates international research on ocean interior biogeochemical changes, undertakes synthesis activities and aims to develop sustainable observing systems, including the addition of oxygen sensors to the international ARGO float programme (ARGO-O2). Published 08.04.2016 – Updated 04.10.2019

Argo-Oxygen Programme

A white paper was presented to the Argo Steering Team (AST) at their 8th meeting (AST-8) at UNESCO-IOC, March 7-9 2007. It outlined the scientific motivations for adding O2 sensors to the ARGO array to measure sub-seasonal to decadal variations in the ocean’s oxygen content. These included:

  • oxygen as a sensitive tracer for changes in oceanic circulation and biology, make it an ideal “bellwether” for climate change;
  • subsurface O2 changes are a reliable indicator for oceanic export production;
  • measuring oceanic outgassing of oxygen enables interpretation of the atmospheric O2 budget – partitioning the terrestrial and ocean CO2 fluxes.

The AST was positive about the project, but cautious about the effects of the O2 sensors on battery life, potential for an increase in premature instrument failure, and the legal implications of adding an additional observation to the Argo array given the current international agreements. These issues would need to be understood and resolved before O2 measurements could be considered for integration into the operational ARGO array.