Robotic floats equipped with “revolutionary new sensors” will be launched in the Indian Ocean later this year in an effort to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge of Indian Ocean ecosystems.
The Indian Ocean contains fisheries and mineral resources that are important to both India and Australia, which is why the two nations are working together to launch the new ‘Bio Argo’ floats.
These will improve upon Argo floats — a network of 3600 free-floating sensors — that are already being used to collect real-time data on ocean temperature and salinity. The ‘Bio Argo’ floats, which will float about two kilometers below the surface, will also contain sensors for dissolved oxygen, nitrate, chlorophyll, dissolved organic matter, and particle scattering. The data will be used to measure large-scale changes in the chemistry and biology of the Indian Ocean’s ecosystems.
“By studying the Indian Ocean in this detail, we can investigate the origin and impact of marine heatwaves like the one that devastated the coral reefs and fisheries off north Western Australian in 2011 – and improve our prediction of them in the future,” CSIRO’s Dr. Hardman-Mountford said in a news release.
The following infographic from CSIRO shows how data is collected by the ‘Bio Argo’ floats:
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