Narrator: This is Science Today. After eight years, the international Argo ocean observing network has reached its initial target of deploying three thousand autonomous, robotic floats to monitor the oceans worldwide.
Roemmich: Reaching 3,000 doesn't mean that we stop deploying floats or that we're finished with the experiment. We have to maintain the array, the floats have a finite lifetime of four years approximately, so that means that each year we have to re-deploy a quarter of the array.
Narrator: Dean Roemmich is a physical oceanographer at the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography and one of the architects of Argo. Roemmich explains that Argo floats basically take vital signs of the global ocean by measuring ocean temperature and salinity.
Roemmich: Temperature and salinity are the basic units that the climate system is built of - and so by measuring temperature and salinity we can see how the ocean is heating up in one place or cooling down in another. So we can observe these patterns and that is our lever into understanding the climate system.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.