Nature News writes an interesting article about a satellite called Jason (see), which measures the surface topography of the oceans and a modern Argo which has a spectacularly distributed sensory system with 3,000 different sense organs spread all around the globe.
The array’s 3,000-odd autonomous floats, which look like upended torpedoes, are equipped with sensors for recording temperature and salinity in the upper 2,000 metres of the ocean (see enlarged). Each float sinks, drifts, bobs up and transmits data to satellites on a regular basis. At its current size the array provides more than 100,000 temperature and salinity profiles each year, regardless of the season or weather. This is 20 times greater than the comparable annual measurements by research vessels and merchant ships, which in the past have been the main data source for this type of oceanography. In the past five years, Argo has more than doubled the total database on some seas that ships steer clear of — such as the seas around Antarctica in winter.
Argo data are already incorporated into models for seasonal weather prediction. To initialize such forecasts, scientists ‘tell’ their models about the here and now and then cast them off into the future. Precise knowledge of the initial state of the ocean — which has a longer ‘memory’ than the atmosphere — could greatly improve the accuracy of longer-term weather and climate prediction.
For further read on this research see this link.