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Strengthening International Dimension of Euro-Argo Research Infrastructure

Final Report Summary - SIDERI (Strengthening International Dimension of Euro-Argo Research Infrastructure)

Executive Summary:

Argo is an international global ocean observing system based on an array of around 3000 autonomous floats drifting freely in the world’s oceans. Those floats, which probe the oceans to a depth of 2000 m and report temperature and salinity data, are one of the essential components of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). They also provide invaluable data in support of ocean and climate research, operational oceanography and ocean monitoring. The system is implemented by a large number of agencies and scientists in over 40 countries. A high level of coordination is necessary to organize efficiently the operations at sea, maintain the float array and to perform the necessary data management (e.g. collection, validation and quality control, distribution and archiving).

The Euro-Argo ERIC delivers the European component of the international Argo programme, it organizes and federates the European contribution to Argo ( The Euro-Argo infrastructure is made up of a central infrastructure based in France (Ifremer, Brest) which is owned and controlled by the Euro-Argo ERIC and distributed national facilities. The Euro-Argo ERIC objectives are to provide, deploy and operate an array of around 800 floats contributing to the global array (a European contribution of ¼ of the global array), to provide enhanced coverage in the European regional seas; and to provide quality controlled data and access to the data sets and data products to the research (climate and oceanography) and operational oceanography (e.g. Copernicus Marine Service) communities.

The objective of the SIDERI project is to strengthen the links and integration of the Euro-Argo Research Infrastructure into the international Argo programme, and to seek participation by, and to develop cooperation with, potential participants in the European neighbourhood areas which have a maritime interest. Euro-Argo, through the SIDERI project, has contributed to the Argo Steering Team and Argo Data Management meetings in a coordinated manner and strengthened the visibility of Euro-Argo at the international level. The final version of the position paper which is the “roadmap for the evolution of Argo in Europe” has been prepared. This document will define the strategy for the ERIC once it is established. It is expected to be a ‘living’ document and should undergo further changes as the Management Board of the ERIC starts its work. Different areas were identified towards the evolution of the global Argo array including: monitoring marginal seas (Mediterranean and Black Seas), monitoring high latitudes (Nordic Seas, Arctic Ocean, Southern Ocean), monitoring nearer the ocean surface, monitoring the abyssal oceans, monitoring ecosystem parameters (O2, Chla, BB, Nitrate,etc) and improvements to the data management system (data flow, format, RTQC,…). The report describes what presently exists, what is the goal for the future, the European needs and requirements to achieve these with estimated additional costs. Developing and extending Euro-Argo activities towards the European neighbourhood areas were pursued in Mediterranean countries (Croatia, Lebanon, Israel, Cyprus, Malta, Tunisia and Turkey), in the Black Sea (Bulgaria, Ukraine, Georgia) and in the Nordic Sea and sub-polar arctic (Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark) through lectures, training and contact with researchers. The deployment by Euro-Argo of around 250 floats per year throughout the world’s oceans is targeted. The needs for a float deployment strategy at global and regional scales have been identified by the international Argo community and this work will be progressed by the Euro-Argo ERIC in close collaboration with AIC/JCOMMOPS in order to enhance the coordination of float deployments. A report was prepared on issues relating to the UN Law Of The Sea (UNCLOS) relating to Argo and potential extensions of the network (e.g. bio-Argo). A follow-on paper was provided on the compliance of Euro-Argo with key EU policy areas. The 4th Argo Science Workshop was jointly organized by Ifremer and OGS with a special session on marginal seas, in the frame of WP6, together with the 20 year altimetry symposium in Venice in September 2012. The final round table objective was to discuss with the workshop participants the envisioned evolution of Argo for the next decade. The 4th Euro-Argo Science Meeting and Workshop on the Arctic and sub-polar North Atlantic was held at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton 18-20 June, 2014. The meeting included special sessions on the Arctic and sub-polar North Atlantic and also sessions on any other aspects of Argo science The Euro-Argo educational website was updated ( and extends to bio-argo through different float stories. An outreach project “Mon ocean et moi” dedicated to the wider public and in particular to scholars was implemented in close collaboration between scientists and teachers.

Finally, this project has allowed progress on Euro-Argo priorities and all these tasks started through the SIDERI project will be continued in the frame of the Euro-Argo ERIC activities.

Project Context and Objectives:

Project Context

The Euro-Argo infrastructure ( will be a major component of the global Argo observing network. The Argo network is a global array of autonomous instruments, deployed throughout the world’s oceans, reporting subsurface ocean properties to a wide range of users via satellite transmission links to data centres. It is the major, and only systematic, source of information and data from the ocean’s interior. The international Argo programme was initiated in 1999 as a pilot project endorsed by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) of the World Meteorological Organization, the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), and the Inter-governmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). Argo must be considered in its ensemble: not only the instruments, but also the logistics necessary for their preparation and deployment, field operations, the associated data streams and data centres and the interfaces with the research and operational user communities. The objective of Euro-Argo is to develop and progressively consolidate the European component of the global network. The European contribution should be of the order of a quarter of the global array. Specific European interest also requires increased sampling in the European regional seas (Nordic, Mediterranean and Black Seas). Overall, the Euro-Argo infrastructure will comprise 800 floats in operation at any given time. Given the average float life time (presently below 4 years), the maintenance of such an array will require Europe to deploy about 250 floats per year.

International integration

Euro-Argo is a contribution to the global international Argo Ocean observing system and will require a high degree of cooperation and integration to achieve its goals and to optimize the resources available. While the Euro-Argo preparatory phase project focused on developing the arrangements and cooperation of the members of the future Euro-Argo ERIC, SIDERI had the objective to engage with the international partners in the Argo structure to:

• Improve and develop the full integration of the Euro-Argo activities within the international strategy of global ocean observations;
• Seek participation by, and to develop cooperation with, potential participants in the European neighborhood areas which have a maritime interest;
• Investigate several legal and policy issues with international partners, and
• Make sure the new ERIC structure will fully contribute to, and benefit from, the international structure.

The overarching objective of Argo is to provide global data sets over the world’s ocean; moreover Euro-Argo has advocated enhanced coverage over the regional seas of European interest (Mediterranean, Black sea, and the higher latitudes of the North Atlantic Ocean). This will require a larger degree of cooperation from the maritime countries of the European neighbourhood, which the project has addressed.

Those actions were undertaken in close coordination between the Euro-Argo ERIC partners and the international Argo governance structure: Steering Team (AST) Chairs, the Argo Data Management Team and the Argo Information Centre (part of JCOMMOPS in Toulouse). Co-ordination with other relevant European and international bodies (e.g. IOC, JCOMM, EuroGOOS, GMES, the European Environment Agency, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas) was also set up.

Data integration

The Argo observing array collects data over the global oceans by means of over 3000 autonomous floats prepared and deployed by dozens of laboratories and ships worldwide, and manufactured by different companies. Since the autonomous floats have a life-time of about four years their performance must be monitored continuously to ensure that the data collected are of the highest quality. Considerable effort is devoted to all aspects of data management and quality control, in order to obtain coherent data sets and to facilitate access to them by scientific users.

An international structure has been set-up with two Global Data Assembly Centres (GDACs), and several Data Assembly Centres (DACs) and Argo Regional Centres (ARCs). An Argo Data Management Team oversees the operation of these centres. The overall objective is to provide data in real-time with standard quality checks (for operational ocean monitoring and forecasting systems), to elaborate in delayed-mode coherent data sets of the highest quality to meet the stringent requirements of climate research. All procedures and data formats are agreed upon internationally and are regularly reviewed and updated as necessary. Full documentation and e-support is provided to facilitate access to the data by the different scientific and operational users.

In the course of SIDERI, partners participated in all the relevant Committees and working groups in order to contribute to the definition of standards and practices that are compatible with ongoing European efforts and requirements related to ocean data management (EMODNET, GMES).

Float deployment strategy

The deployment of floats over the global oceans and the European regional seas is a challenging task, requiring a high degree of international cooperation in Europe and with our international partners. The operations at sea pose a considerable challenge and must be closely coordinated to use resources efficiently in order to maintain the observing array in an optimal configuration with respect to the scientific sampling requirements.

The floats are usually deployed from different kinds of ships: research vessels, merchant ships identified in the Ships of Opportunity (SOOP) and Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) programmes, or (more rarely) from chartered vessels. Research vessels are often favoured for historical reasons (Argo was initiated as a research programme) and the informal network of ocean scientists were used to international cooperation. Those vessels are also well equipped and can readily respond to the requirements of scientific operations. Finally, they operate over the global ocean, often in remote areas far from commercial shipping lanes.

In the frame of SIDERI existing tools developed by POGO and EUROFLEETS were evaluated for their use as a deployment planning aid for Argo were evaluated. For improving these databases, needs have been identified by the Argo community and targeted as priority for the ERIC’s activities.

Legal and policy issues

The International Argo programme has been formally endorsed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). It has been recognized that Argo, as a research programme, is fully consistent with the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). To resolve the concerns of some States related to their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the IOC has adopted Resolution XX-6, which requires that the States be notified of the deployment of floats into international waters, but that might drift into their EEZ. This notification is made by the AIC (Argo Information Centre). However, no general agreement exists for the deployment of floats into the EEZs, in particular in the enclosed seas.

Those issues are reviewed in relation to a) the implementation of Argo into the maritime domain around Europe and its overseas extensions, b) its implications for the European Maritime Policy and Marine Strategy, and c) to other States (in particular those States whose own maritime boundaries border those of the EU Coastal States).

Conferences, workshops and outreach

The project organized several conferences and workshops to strengthen the international support for the infrastructure and to consolidate a network of scientists engaged in climate and ocean research using Argo data. A series of workshops aimed at agencies and scientists from countries around the regional seas of direct European interest (Mediterranean and Black seas, North East Atlantic, Sub-polar Arctic) were organized. The objective was to seek support, cooperation and participation in the Euro-Argo ERIC, to train the scientists in the use of Argo data for research, and to apprise different stakeholders in those countries on the value of Argo data in support of their maritime objectives. Finally, an educational web-site (which was initiated in the course of the Euro-Argo preparatory phase project), has been maintained, expanded and updated to inform our international partners, stakeholders, and the general public, on the use of Argo data for education, science, and maritime policy. Specific effort was made to broaden the scope of the web site and to include the floats’ enhanced capabilities in the field of bio-geochemically relevant data. An outreach project dedicated to the wider public and in particular to scholars is implementing “Mon ocean et moi” in close collaboration between scientists and teachers.

Project Objectives

The objective of this project were to strengthen the links and integration of the Euro-Argo European research infrastructure into the Argo International strategy of global ocean observations, and to seek participation by, and to develop cooperation with, potential participants in the European neighborhood areas which have a maritime interest.

The following activities were carried out:

• work on the evolution of the Argo core mission together with international partners (O2, bio-geochemical sensors, deep floats, extension to polar and marginal seas),
• work on the evolution of the Argo data centres (DMQC of the North Atlantic ARC and Southern Ocean ARC) and the role of the European components,
• refine the float deployment strategy in Europe and international seas and strengthen links with international partners,
• making the interfaces with JCOMMOPS and the Argo Information Centre (AIC),
• working on legal aspects and policy issues (law of the sea),
• organize scientific and thematic (regional) workshops open to international partners.

Project Results:

The main results are best described in the context of the work-packages wherein they were achieved, under the leadership of the WP leaders.

WP1 : Project management and coordination

The structured adopted for the project management, with its project office and the Steering Committee, has proven quite effective in monitoring the project planning and progress, thus ensuring that deadlines were met, and that all project reports were submitted timely.

Several project meetings were organized, and all documentation has been made available on the project web site.

Ifremer, as project Coordinator has managed the budget, prepared the financial and administrative reports for the Commission, and transferred to the partners their share of the Commission grant.

Different communication activities are described under section 4.1.4 of this report.

WP2 : Integrating Euro-Argo into the international Argo programme

Task 2.1 – Linking Euro-Argo with the international Argo governance structure
Task 2.1 partners have contributed to the Argo Steering Team meetings and the Argo Data Management meetings in 2012 and 2013 in a coordinated manner and to strengthen the visibility of Euro-Argo in the international program. Euro-Argo is considered as a major component to Argo International and useful for the coordination of the European partners’ contributions. New European partners joined Argo thanks to the outreach activities carried out in WP3 and WP6. Real-time and delayed-mode data management activities are well organized for European floats. Euro-Argo has also collaborated with the Argo Information Centre to adapt the Argo monitoring tools to generate maps for Euro-Argo.

Euro-Argo has also played a leading role in coordinating the scientific Bio-Argo community and initiating the Bio-Argo data management system through the organization of two workshops in 2012 and 2013, alongside the ADMT meetings: about 50 persons attended these meetings. Such meetings contributed to structure the Bio-Argo data management community and defined the necessary links with the core Argo teams. Four variables were identified as core Bio-Argo variables that need to be handled as first priority by the data management teams (Oxygen, Chlorophyll-a, Backscatter, Nitrate). Four emerging variables were identified, but will need more testing before entering into the system (PH, Radiometry, Transmittometer CP and CDOM). It was agreed that most of the Bio-Argo floats will be Argo compliant – 10 (or 5) day cycles with parking at 1000dbar with every 3 to 6 profiles deep. The additional cost of Bio-Argo was identified (float cost, communications costs, reduced lifetime because of additional sensors, people to manage programmes at DAC level) and it was agreed that Bio-Argo should develop in a way that enhances Argo by providing additional funding. Potential additional stakeholders include: satellite agencies (NASA, ESA, CNES) for validation and additional man power for data management and scientific quality control. Bio-Argo data formats have been defined and discussed at ADMT14 (Nov 2013), real-time QC procedures for Chla, BBP and NO3 were proposed and will be tested by the teams deploying Bio-Argo floats in the coming year. The first ideas for delayed-mode QC of Bio-Argo data were raised and additional scientific studies will be carried out in the future.

Task 2.2 – Planning for the evolution of the core mission

Argo is the most important global in-situ observing system for the ocean. Together with satellite observations Argo provides critical observations of the ocean that are required to constrain the GMES/Copernicus Marine Service modelling and forecasting systems. In order to meet requirements from the research and operational oceanography communities in Europe with a focus on European Seas, an adaption of the ‘Core Argo’ design and evolution of float technology and data systems are required. It was the aim of WP2.2 to prepare a comprehensive report on such requirements which aims at both the laymen and Euro-Argo/SIDERI management as an audience.

During the SIDERI steering committee meeting in June 2012 in Paris a decision was reached about the content and structure of the strategy paper “Roadmap for evolution of Argo in Europe”. Each of the chapters follows a standard design and gives information about the status quo and the desired goals. It also estimates the potential costs of such adaptions.

The first version of the position paper “Roadmap for evolution of Argo in Europe” was presented at the 14th meeting of the International Argo Steering Team in March 2013. The paper was discussed in the context of the international Argo strategy and the Argo Steering Team has asked for updates on the progress.

A modified version of the Roadmap was presented by BSH at the SIDERI steering committee meeting in June of 2013 in Southampton. A thorough discussion of the main chapters was carried out in the plenary session and it was suggested that some topics were too long and too much detailed information were given. For this reason, the author teams were asked to revise individual chapters and shorten them to avoid double information. A common scheme to calculate the additional costs was also discussed.

After the discussion in June, it was agreed to maintain the following topics:

0. Executive Summary
1. Evolution of the core Argo sampling strategy
2. Monitoring Marginal Seas
• Mediterranean Sea
• Black Sea
3. Monitoring High Latitudes
• Northern Ocean
• Southern Ocean
4. Monitoring Near Surface Oceans
5. Monitoring Abyssal Oceans
6. Monitoring Ecosystem Parameters
7. Data Management
8. Guidelines for implementation
9. Appendix

It was agreed that chapters 2-8 will address following information: what exists, what is the goal for future, what are the European needs, what are the requirements to achieve this, what are the technical advances needed and an estimation of the costs. Two chapters were reorganized. The chapter about “Monitoring Marginal Seas“ now contains the information about the Mediterranean and the Black Sea while the Nordic Seas have been incorporated into the section about the high latitudes. The chapter “Monitoring High Latitudes” is now divided in two sections: in the Northern High Latitudes and the Southern Ocean. Northern High Latitudes gives information about the Nordic Seas and the Arctic Ocean. It distinguishes between areas covered permanently by ice and areas covered by seasonal ice.

BSH presented the current version of the Roadmap at the SIDERI 2th annual meeting in November of 2013 in Brussels. The chapters one to seven were in their final version. To finish chapter eight about the implementation guidelines a plenary discussion of the implementation plan was started. It was recognized that the implementation guidelines will need to be established by the ERIC once it is established and that the role of the SIDERI project could only be to provide a starting point for such discussion. All participants agreed on the following implementation plan: (See attached document "implementation plan")

The final version of the position paper was provided at the end of 2013. It will be one of the central documents for the ERIC once it is established. It is expected to be a ‘living’ document and should undergo further changes once the Management Board of the ERIC starts its work.

Task 2.3 - Data integration and quality control in Argo Regional Centres

In task 2.3 activities were carried out to enhance the Argo dataset for climate applications and to update the real-time data management system for new technologies. Euro-Argo took a leading role in revisiting the delayed-mode Argo data in the North Atlantic, Med Sea and Southern Ocean within the Argo Regional Centres activities. They contributed to the Delayed Mode Quality Control (DMQC) cookbook in these three regions as well as to the Reference CTD database enhancement.

In the North Atlantic, a study carried by Cécile Cabanes from CNRS has showed some weaknesses of the current method due rapid changes in the North Atlantic area. They investigated the performance of the OW method (Owens Wong, 2009) in the North-Atlantic, north of 30°N. The OW method was tested in a standard configuration against a subset of floats already processed in delayed-mode and having no salinity bias or drift according to PI’s decision. The proposed corrections showed a large scale pattern and were systematically positive or negative regionally, whatever the reference database used (CTD alone or CTD+Argo). Low frequency variability, at decadal and inter-annual timescales, mainly explained those proposed corrections.

Task 2.4 – Argo data system and the WMO Integration System

In Task 2.4 activities were carried out to update the BUFR format used on the WMO Global Telecommunication System (GTS) to handle the new Argo missions (near surface temperature profile, oxygen and other Bio-Argo variables).

Argo has a strong relationship with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and in particular the WMO-IOC Joint Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) that is charged with implementation of the global module of GOOS (the Global Ocean Observing System). The WIGOS (WMO Integrated Global Observing System) is being developed by WMO to provide a framework to bring all of its observing systems into an integrated, comprehensive and coordinated system, with interfaces to co-sponsored observing systems and non WMO-owned systems (such as Argo). WIGOS will facilitate the WMO contribution to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the GOOS, the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

Given that Argo data are used operationally by various National Meteorological Services (assimilated together with other in-situ and space-based observations into ocean prediction models, coupled ocean-atmosphere prediction models etc.), it is essential that (real-time) Argo data are delivered via the WMO Global Telecommunications System (GTS) in a way that is consistent with other data types. Also, as Argo evolves to encompass new measurement capabilities, it will be essential to ensure that the GTS data stream, which is used by many operational users, also evolves to be able to cope with these enhancements (e.g. bio-geochemical measurements for real-time ecosystem prediction models).

An Argo BUFR template has been defined within Argo, fully compatible with the NetCDF format used to distribute Argo data at the GDACs (Global Data Centres). This format can at present only carry standard Argo CTD data. The present Argo BUFR template is based on Master Table 0 (MT0) which can allow for dissolved oxygen but not other bio-geochemical variables, which would require reference to MT10 for oceanographic data. As MT10 has not been yet used operationally, few (if any) operational centres have the ability to decode MT10 encoded messages. A recommendation has been circulated to the Argo Data Management Team and the JCOMM Task Team on Table Driven Codes for comment and aims for acceptance for validation April 2014, operational acceptance by Nov 2014. This will allow to start distribution of oxygen data on the GTS.

WP3 : Integrating and extending Euro-Argo activities to the European Neighbourhood

Task 3.1 - Engage more partners and agencies in maritime countries around the Mediterranean Sea

OGS performed the following activities during the project:

Seminar on Argo and Euro-Argo at the Institute for Marine and Coastal Research, University of Dubrovnik (in Dubrovnik, Croatia) on 14 February 2012. Deployment of Arvor-L floats in February and March 2012 in the southern Adriatic Sea from Croatian R/V Naše by colleagues from University of Dubrovnik.

Figure 7

Seminar on Argo and Euro-Argo and training session during CALYPSO meeting in Gozo, Malta on 29 May 2012 (8 participants: 2 Maltese, 6 Sicilians). Deployment of an Argo float donated by Italy in Sicily Channel in December 2012 by Maltese colleagues.

Deployment of 3 Italian Arvor-I floats in September 2012 and November 2013 south of Cyprus in the Levantine Sea by colleagues of the Cyprus Oceanographic Centre, University of Cyprus (in Nicosia, Cyprus).

Participation at the ALTIFLOAT meeting organized by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Liban (CNRSL) in Beyrouth, Lebanon on 23 April 2013 and presentation of a lecture on Argo and Euro-Argo. Besides this formal talk, OGS tested a German Apex float which stranded in front of Beyrouth and trained local oceanographers about float testing and operations. The float was later donated by Germany to Lebanon and was deployed off the coast of Lebanon by Lebanese collaborators onboard RV Cana on 27 August 2013.

Contacts (by email and also at the CIESM congress in Marseille in October 2013) with Dr. Ben Ismail from the Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer (INSTM) and Dr. Gana from SAROST in Tunis, Tunisia about future plans to release Argo floats in the Tunisian coastal waters and Sicily Channel. OGS encouraged Dr. Ben Ismail to participate at the Euro-Argo workshop in September 2013.

Interaction with Turkish oceanographers (Drs. Oguz and Salihoglu from the Middle East Technical University) at the MARES2020 congress in Varna, Bulgaria on 16-20 September 2013 about deployments of Turkish and Italian floats in the Cilician Basin (north-eastern Mediterranean) and Black Sea. OGS also had numerous email and telephone contacts with Dr. Fach about the release of Turkish floats in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Interaction with oceanographers in Romania and Ukraine (as part of the FP7 Perseus project) for the procurement of Argo floats.

HCMR carried out the following activities:

Numerous contacts with scientists from Lebanon, Cyprus and Israel and discussions regarding Argo activities, Euro-Argo scope and infrastructure. We received positive feedback from them regarding the expansion of Euro-Argo activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Partners expressed their agreement to cooperate for the Argo float deployments and recovery actions in their regional sea areas.

Organization, with the help of OGS, of a Mediterranean Argo Workshop aiming to present Argo float data and technology and promote the ERIC in Mediterranean countries that are not familiar with Argo activities and evolution. Since the beginning of the SIDERI project a questionnaire has been disseminated to scientists across Mediterranean countries in order to specify their level of knowledge and needs regarding Argo platforms. Using the questionnaire output it was decided to organize the workshop with focus on both data management and technical (deployment-recovery) issues and, additionally, to include a discussion session regarding cooperation activities and link with the Euro-Argo ERIC. It was also decided to include a second day with a field experiment (test a float tracking system developed by HCMR, proceed with the deployment of a PROVOR DO float). The participation was satisfactory and the organization successful. Participants included representatives of 5 Mediterranean countries (3 from targeted countries Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel and 2 from Malta and Tunisia). In general it was a fruitful meeting and all attendees showed great interest in Argo platforms. They all expressed their willingness for future cooperation.

Figure 8

Task 3.2 - Engage more partners and agencies in maritime countries around the Black sea

The following activities were carried out by USOF in 2012:

Participation in the international conference, organized by the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria - “NATO’s role in the Black Sea Region in the context of the New Security Challenges and NATO Summit in Chicago”, held on 17 May 2012 in Burgas, Bulgaria. Presentation entitled “Euro-Argo and BulArgo research projects for monitoring of the sea”.

Lecture “Euro-Argo research project and the Argo activity in the Black Sea” in the Seminars of Faculty of Physics, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, January 2012.

Lecture and practical exercises on Argo/Euro-Argo/BulArgo included in the university course in Physical Oceanography for B.Sc. Level students in Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”.

A work meeting with Bulgarian scientists was held on board the R/V “Akademik” in 10 August 2012 during the deployment of float WMO 6901962.

A presentation of Euro-Argo and BulArgo activities was made during the Black Sea Celebration Day in Batumi, Georgia, on 31 October 2012. During the visit in Georgia contacts with Georgian scientists was established to encourage their participation.

Contacts with Turkish colleagues to help the development of a Turkish national Argo program. A visit and lecture were held in the Institute of Maine Sciences Middle East Technical University, Erdemli, in order to popularize Euro-Argo in Turkey in the period 5-7 November 2012. Contacts continued in 2013. The team in the Institute of Marine Sciences in the Middle East Technical University set up a national project funded by Turkish funds. As part of this project six floats were purchased. Two were deployed in the Black Sea.

Organization of a national meeting of the Bulgarian Argo users in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 22 April 2013. The meeting programme included: lectures on the objectives of Argo, Euro-Argo and BulArgo programmes; The place of Euro-Argo in the Bulgarian Research infrastructures Roadmap; Technological aspects of Argo floats - new development; Publication of Argo data in the web; Procedures for real-time quality control oriented towards Black Sea characteristics; Application of Argo data for validation of SST data. The lectures were followed by a training session on how to download and visualize the Argo data.

Organization, with the help of OGS, of a workshop entitled “Extending the Euro-Argo activities in the Black Sea” on 18 September 2013 in Golden Sands Resort, near Varna, Bulgaria, in conjunction with the MARES2020 conference. The workshop was structured in two parts: a session of formal lectures and practical exercises. During the practical part, an Italian float which stranded on the Bulgarian coast near the resort Primorsko, was used to demonstrate the functioning of Argo floats. Furthermore a detailed presentation was given on how to download data, on the data formats, and on the software to visualize the Argo data. The audience consisted of about 30 participants during lectures and 20 at the practical training session, including scientists and Ph.D. students from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Georgia and Germany.

Figure 9

Task 3.3 - Engage more partners and agencies in maritime countries in the broad North- East Atlantic

IMR carried out the following activities to try to engage new partners:

Organization of an Argo training session in Reykjavik at the Marine Research Institute (MRI) on 11 April 2013 in connection with an ICES meeting. Iceland is willing to help with deployment of Argo floats in the Iceland and Irminger Sea when this is desired.

Contacts with several persons in Denmark, e.g. at Technical University of Denmark, to see if they have interest in Argo/Euro-Argo.

Contacts and discussions (along with IFREMER and IOPAS) with scientists in Finland, and they will now become a member of the Euro-Argo ERIC starting in 2014.

MI performed the following activities:

Shipping of a donated Arvor float to Prof. Isabel Ambar in FFCUL in the autumn of 2012. On 19 November 2012, Fiona Grant and Sheena Fennell of the MI set up a web conference training session with colleagues in Portugal. A practical demonstration took place with the MI instructing how FFCUL could communicate with, and test, the Arvor float using Bluetooth technology. The float was successfully deployed in March 2013. An article was published in the newspaper "Público" about the launching of the float.

Several contacts with Morocco regarding the Argo programme and Euro-Argo remained unsuccessful. Morocco has already two Argo floats that were never deployed as planned. The Argo Technical Coordinator Mathieu Belbeoch was contacted. He visited the Training Workshop in Marine Instruments in Casablanca, Morocco and has pushed to have these floats deployed as soon as possible.

IOPAS carried out the following activities during the project:

Presentation of possibilities for Argo deployments in the high latitudes during the Polish-Norwegian meeting which took place on 5-6 November 2012 at the IOPAS, Sopot, Poland. Partners from Norway: NERSC, and UNIS and Poland: IGF, University of Silesia, UMK were invited. IOPAS interacted with researchers from "The Atlantic Branch of the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology" in Kaliningrad, Russia and the Finnish Meteorological Institute about possible Argo cooperation during deployments in the Baltic Sea and the north-east Atlantic.

Discussions with researchers from the Atlantic Branch of the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology in Kaliningrad, Russia and visit of the Finish Argo Team in Helsinki about possible cooperation of Argo deployments in the Baltic Sea.

Promotion of the Argo Programme during the “XXIII Polish Seminar of Polar Meteorology and Climatology”, Gdynia Maritime University, 10-11 May 2013, Gdynia, Poland.

Lecture “Argo floats in the polar regions - technology, reality, future perspective” at the 2013 IARC Summer School aboard RV “Akademik Fedorov” to the Barents, Kara, Laptev and East Siberian Seas, 21 August - 22 September 2013. The information about Argo Programme was also posted on the NABOS cruise blog, which received altogether 21,500 hits originating from 89 countries

WP4 : Float deployment coordination

Task 4.1 & 4.2 – Deployment over regional seas and the global ocean

Argo is the most important global in-situ observing system for the ocean. Together with satellite observations Argo provides critical observations of the ocean. The deployment of some 250 floats per year over the world’s ocean is a formidable task and requires intense international cooperation. Over the next years enhanced float coverage in the European Seas is envisioned to better serve the needs of the scientific communities and operational agencies in Europe. Float deployments are mostly carried out from research vessels, Ships of Opportunity (as identified by IOC’s SOOP programme), or exceptionally, by chartered vessels. Co-ordination of the deployments requires easy access to up-to-date information on research cruises for deployment opportunities. In the framework of the SIDERI project, several actions have been taken towards the coordination of such activities. The overall objectives of WP4 is to set-up or enhance procedures for the identification of deployment opportunities based on advance notice of research vessel cruise plans, on the global ocean and on European regional seas.

For the Euro-Argo community the added value of SIDERI’s WP 4 results not only from improved planning tools (regional and global dissemination of information, efficient and timely planning, reduced deployment costs, etc.) but also in strengthening relations between Euro-Argo ERIC members and non-members at a regional level. These activities were carried out under WP 3 and focused on integrating and extending Euro-Argo activities to the European neighbourhood. Therefore special attention was paid to engage participation of scientists and agencies from the Mediterranean and Black seas and the Nordic sea area.

At the time that the SIDERI project was launched there were two initiatives aiming to improve information sharing and cost-effectiveness in the operation of the research fleet, namely the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) Cruise Information Database (CID) and the European Commission FP7 EUROFLEETS. POGO and EUROFLEETS groups have implemented several tools containing cruise information but they are not operational unless regular updates are incorporated to account for changes in cruise plans and new information.

Evaluate the existing tools for their use as a deployment device for Argo.

The project partners started intense communications with the POGO and EUROFLEETS communities. In particular, BSH participated in the EUROFLEETS meeting held in October 2012 in Potsdam, Germany, where requirements to the cruise database regarding float deployments were discussed. The main features of the two main portals are summarized below.

The Partnership for Observation of global Oceans, POGO ( is intended to serve as a forum for major oceanographic institutions around the world to promote global oceanography, particularly the implementation of international global ocean observing systems. The website focuses on vessels greater than 60m in length and incorporates three major databases, including a research vessel directory; a cruise program database and a database of cruise summary reports. One major challenge for the Cruise Information Database (CID) is to increase the timeliness of the availability of information. Even though the information about completed research cruises is extensive in the CID, entries for the near future are much too scarce.

EUROFLEETS ( is based on the same databases (programmes, vessels, cruise summary reports) as the POGO system, and includes regional vessels as well as ocean-going ones. The system utilises and builds on the developments carried out for POGO, and POGO in turn will benefit from an enhanced system. In particular the EUROFLEETS project will develop more automatic harvesting from the operator databases.

Improve the existing data bases

In order to improve the existing data bases it was necessary to define the requirements from the point of view of the Argo community and communicate these to POGO and EUROFLEETS.

The needs identified by the Argo community are the following:

• More and timely input about planned cruises (at least 6 months ahead),
• More detailed information about working areas, if possible including maps with ship tracks,
• More detailed information about transits,
• Detailed contact information to PIs/ship operators/owners, including email address,
• Ability to provide preliminary cruise information,
• Improved updating mechanism,
• More automation (where possible).

Some of the requirements concerning technical issues of the cruise programmes database (e.g. improving the updating mechanism) could be achieved. It is now possible for national agencies and/or ship operators to edit entries in the cruise database themselves. This ensures that the information is available more quickly. The other issues, such as more detailed information about working areas could not be achieved and also maps with ship tracks can still not be included in the database.

Gather information on national portals (Germany, US, Nordic Seas, Mediterranean)

A sub task in WP4 involved gathering of information on national and regional portals which provide information on scientific cruises. This work is aimed at providing information to the AIC ship coordinator for his database.

A new information portal on German research vessels was set up in 2012. The project is a collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and the Project Management Jülich (PTJ). It provides a platform for scientists working at publicly funded research institutions to submit cruise proposals for the seven research vessels that are POLARSTERN, METEOR, SONNE, MARIA S. MERIAN, POSEIDON, ALKOR and HEINCKE.

The German National Oceanographic Data Centre compiles information on the research fleet’s planned research and monitoring cruises on yearly basis. Planned programmes are available for the 25 research vessels ( This webpage is identical to the POGO and EUROFLEETS data base as far as the large German vessels are concerned but also covers the smaller ships.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is the world's largest private, non-profit oceanographic research institution and a global leader in the study and exploration of the ocean. WHOI operates four research vessels with different capabilities. The website provides among other information the specifications, capabilities, layouts and schedules of each ship.

The HCMR team focused on float deployment coordination over regional seas (i.e. the Mediterranean) and evaluated existing infrastructures and the potential additional information that could become available regarding R/V cruises in Mediterranean Sea since the majority of floats are deployed from research vessels at the moment. Regarding the Mediterranean Sea the planning and realization of the field operations in the Mediterranean Sea proved to be a very complex task of high difficulty. It requires not only adequate logistical support and an easy access to information about research cruises, but also a shorter advance notice in order to identify deployment opportunities. For now, most research cruises are planned and administered unaccompanied uncoordinated by the respective national institutes. Therefore, a better integrated access in the form of a European Database is required and such a task was started by HCMR. All gathered information regarding R/V cruises in the Mediterranean, including metadata entries from agencies and ship operators, will now be available through the Greek-Argo web page This link is planned to be a permanent portal providing as much as possible information on scheduled cruises in the Mediterranean region. New information and entries will be integrated into the final Mediterranean ship notification data base.

Another source of research cruises information was identified from European and National projects that involve marine experiments, samplings, sensors maintenance or any other cruising activities. In frame of PERSEUS project the HCMR team has constructed a cruise calendar containing all repeated cruises that will be done in Mediterranean Sea in 2014. These cruises will provide a very good opportunity for float deployments in the Mediterranean since they cover a large part of the basin.

IMR has provided the yearly cruise schedule to the POGO and EUROFLEET databases in the past. However, since the cruise schedule is not ready before the start of the same year as the planned cruises this information may be too late for deployment plans of Argo floats. Also, cruise tracks are often not included. Therefore IMR has identified research cruises and ships of opportunities within the Nordic Seas, from both Norwegian and other country cruises that are repeated every year, often as a part of a monitoring program. These cruises occupy approximately the same area sampling period every year. The vessel may change but usually this is not a problem for the deployment of the floats. Also, the departure and arrival ports may change, but often these also are fixed to one or two different ports. Information about the cruises relevant for deployment of Argo floats and the contact persons for the cruises are collected and are available at from IMR.

Establish cooperation with AIC/JCOMMOPS

At the beginning of 2013, a ship coordination office was set up at JCOMMOPS aiming to provide an international and global solution that could also benefit Euro-Argo. This initiative focuses on gathering, integrating and maintaining all useful ship metadata for operations within the JCOMMOPS Information System, developing appropriate tools and services. At the annual SIDERI meeting in 2013 it was decided to strengthen the co-operation with the AIC/JCOMMOPS and the new ship coordinator. This cooperation offers, in particular due to direct contact to the Argo community, a highly promising option to achieve our targets regarding the optimal float deployment coordination and to get all needed information, as soon as possible.

All SIDERI partners have provided the ship coordinator with information about their national data bases but also progress reports about the discussions with the existing international data bases. WP partners also collected additional cruise information and forwarded it to the JCOMMOPS Ship Coordinator office. Actually, all this information is available at the JCOMMOPS database but only on request by contacting the ship coordinator office. A web-based search service for collected scheduled cruises has still to be developed. In parallel, a tool for graphical representation of working areas and ship tracks is currently under development at JCOMMOPS. The aim is that all detailed information about working areas and ship tracks required for the float deployment can be easily added (by PI’s, cruise leaders or ship coordinators) and this information will be available on a detailed map. The first version of a searchable web-based cruise database including detailed maps will be probably available at the beginning of 2014.

Develop method/tool to track and recover beached floats

In marginal seas floats have a higher probability to drift ashore which limits their life time. HCMR therefore investigated tools to track and recover beached floats. They investigated the market to analyse existing tracking tools and started to work with the manufacturers to achieve modifications. In order to save power it is necessary that the tracking beacon remains at low power while the float is at the surface and transmission is only activated when recovery is required. A prototype of such a device has been developed during the project and has received testing at land and at sea.

WP5 : Legal and policy issues

The International Argo programme has been formally endorsed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). The IOC has stated that the Argo programme shall be fully consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). To resolve the concerns of some States related to their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the IOC has adopted the Resolution XX-6, which requires that such States be notified of the deployment of floats into international waters, which might drift into their EEZ. This notification is made by the float operator through the AIC (Argo Information Centre). However, no general agreement exists for the deployment of floats into the EEZs, in particular for the enclosed seas.

The work carried out under this Work Package has reviewed those issues as they relate to:

a) The implementation of Argo into the maritime domain around Europe and its overseas extensions,
b) Its implications for the European Maritime Policy and Marine Strategy, and
c) Other States (in particular those States whose own maritime boundaries border those of the EU Coastal States).

The deliverables from the Work Package are three reports:

D 5.11 Position Paper – Review of the Law of the Sea issues associated with the Argo float array,

D5.12 Follow-on paper providing an understanding of the compliance of Euro-Argo with key EU policy areas, and

D5.13 Summary of law of the sea issues in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

IOC Resolution XX-6

This requires that all Argo float deployments are formally notified (by the float owner/operator) through the AIC and that the notification information is provided through the AIC to all the designated Argo focal points in IOC Member States.

At the time of writing the following Coastal States have accepted the deployment of floats without prior authorization in their EEZs: Canada (verbal), USA (verbal), UK & UK Overseas Territories (written), Mozambique (written), Mauritius (written), Pacific Islands (written, via SOPAC).

IOC Resolution EC-XLI.4 gives further guidelines for the implementation of Resolution XX-6 and invites all IOC Member States to state at any time, if they require to be notified of the deployment in the high seas of all Argo floats that may enter their respective EEZs. Whenever an Argo float deployed in the high seas is considered at risk of drifting into the EEZ of such a concerned IOC Member State, the implementer of the said Argo float is to notify the Argo Focal Point of the concerned IOC Member State, by transmitting to it the following information (type of float deployed, date and geo-coordinates of location where the float was deployed in the high seas, date and geo-coordinates of latest location of the float, contact information of the implementer, parameters and variables being collected by sensors, other information that the implementer might consider of interest) about the float, reasonably in advance of the expected entry of the float into the EEZ. This information is automatically generated by the AIC but the onus is on the implementer to provide the notification to the Coastal State.

While all the data obtained by Argo floats, once they enter the EEZ, will continue to be made freely available by the implementer, the exception to this is of data of direct significance for the exploration and exploitation of natural resources, whether living or non-living, which, to protect its sovereign rights and jurisdiction in its EEZ, the IOC Member State into whose EEZ the float enters formally may require the implementer not to be distributed.

The following Coastal States have requested direct prior notification of Argo floats that may drift into their EEZ: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, India, Peru, Tunisia and Turkey.

D.5.1.1 Position Paper – Review of the Law of the Sea issues associated with the Argo float array

This report reviews the Law of the Sea issues from the perspective of the Argo-array and its component floats as operated in the EU maritime zone and the waters adjacent to this zone including the Open Ocean and Enclosed Seas cases. The report primarily considers the issues identified at the time of writing, but contains an element of ‘horizon scanning’ looking for potential future issues. The report considers three core themes: (i) environmental, (ii) safety, and (iii) status against which key Argo capability drivers were considered.

Some examples of associated issues are highlighted below:

• The present Argo core mission,
• The evolution of the Argo mission to encompass dissolved oxygen, biogeochemical sensors, deep profiling floats and extension of operations into the polar regions and marginal seas,
• The deployment of Argo floats by non EU states that passage into the EU maritime zone,
• The potential divergence of the governance regimes related to established MSR (Marine Scientific Research) and the emerging ‘Operational Oceanography’ concept in the context of the Argo core mission.

As part of the process of collecting information a questionnaire was circulated to the main participants in the WP. Responses were provided by France, Gemany, UK and Ireland. Also requested were any specific regulations relating to the deployment in French maritime zones of autonomous vehicles/floats.

Environmental considerations concern the fate of floats, where ~98% of floats are lost at sea. For those floats (<2% of all deployments) that are beached (or washed ashore) the Argo Information centre (AIC) provides safety guidance and the responsibility for recovery (if possible) falls to the float owner. An issue is the lack of a stated/published Argo/Euro-Argo Safety Policy which makes it very difficult to determine compliance against State, Regional and International applicable safety regulations. This could be addressed by developing a Euro-Argo regional safety policy that is informed by EU maritime safety policy and regulations and is also cognizant of the pertinent IMO safety regulatory frame work. This policy could then be used in a self regulatory approach and be an example of best practice.

On the retrieval of floats possible changes in the existing legal regime such as the London Dumping Convention and a possible new convention on plastics in the ocean may require Argo floats to be recovered from the oceans at the end of their working life. It may even require a review of the materials used in the construction of the Argo floats.

A particular issue is the lack of a stated/published Argo environmental policy at international and Euro-Argo levels. This makes it very difficult to determine the Argo capability’s compliance against State, Regional and International applicable environmental regulation and policy. To address this it is recommended that the Euro-Argo ERIC establishes a Working Group on Legal, Environmental and Policy (LEP) issues, this group would comprise suitable experts drawn from the Euro-Argo community and would have the remit to track and follow LEP issues needing to be addressed by the ERIC. This should be taken forward once the ERIC is established in early 2014. The group could then develop a SIDERI/Euro-Argo regional environmental policy that is informed by EU environmental policy and regulations and is also cognizant of the pertinent international environmental regulatory frame work. This policy could then be used in a self regulatory approach and be an example of best practice.

For Argo, where floats may drift into foreign EEZ waters, it is recommended that IOC Resolution XXX-6 and the notification of all Argo floats continues to be adhered to. As noted earlier, the guidelines to the implementation of Resolution XX-6 state that the concerned Coastal State, into whose EEZ a float drifts, can formally require the implementer not to distribute data that are of direct significance for the exploration and exploitation of its natural resources. Hence it is recommended that any data collected from biological sensors can be withheld from distribution at the request of the concerned Coastal State. This could either be done at the DAC responsible for processing the data (which may not be satisfactory to the Coastal State as those data are still being collected) or perhaps by developing the ability to switch-off (via 2-way communications) the biological sensors whilst the float is in the EEZ.

The concept of ‘Operational Oceanography’ has been around for over a decade and has been described by a number of organizations such as EuroGOOS. They state that “Operational Oceanography can be defined as the activity of systematic and long-term routine measurements of the seas and oceans and atmosphere, and their rapid interpretation and dissemination”. The emergence of Operational Oceanography as a major activity raises issues that appear to go beyond the scope of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Internationally, it has been suggested there may be a need for a new convention to underpin Operational Oceanography. In order to do so it will be important to make a clear distinction between observations made for Operational Oceanography and those made for marine scientific research (which is within the scope of UNCLOS). This is not straightforward however, as operational observations are also used for research and research observations may also be used operationally.

D.5.1.3 Summary of law of the sea issues in the Eastern Mediterranean region

This report attempts to present the rights and obligations of coastal and researching States in the Eastern Mediterranean region in relation to Argo float deployment and the existing state practice in the area. The marine areas covered include the Aegean and Levantine geographical sub-areas corresponding to the following coastal states: Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Egypt. Although considered as a central Mediterranean state, the state of play in Libya is also considered.

The existing regime of Argo float deployments in the region is examined in the first part of the report, by presenting the general conditions for the conduct of such activities, the legal status of the floats themselves and the liability and international responsibility for damage or injuries resulting from the use of these specific floats; the second part follows a country by country approach, by presenting (a) the existing maritime zones in the region (including the delimitation agreements concluded or pending) in order to make a first categorization of rights and obligations of coastal and researching states, (b) the national legislation for marine scientific research (including environmental impacts and liability regime) and the provisions applying to Argo floats deployment, and (c) the procedure to be followed for granting permission for marine scientific research to third countries.

Taking due consideration of the demands of contemporary marine scientific research and the existing international institutional framework, as well as the geographical features and the institutional landscape of the Eastern Mediterranean and their impact on Argo float deployments and the expansion of Argo into the area, the report has focused on the institutional lacunae that prevail in the domain of marine scientific research and especially on the deployment of Argo floats, and may function as sources of friction in the area hindering the conduct of marine scientific research and inter-state cooperation in this domain.

Apart from the use of academic literature on marine scientific research and the deployment of Argo floats, the authors of the report also examined the existing legal framework and soft-law documents related to these issues, reports and surveys conducted by international organizations and bodies in order to document relevant state practice.

It was also noted that the IOC has conducted a survey from 2002 to 2004 concerning the practice of States with respect to Parts XIII MSR and technology transfer (TMT) of UNCLOS. This survey aimed to assess the problems encountered in the implementation of the MSR regime as established by Part XIII of UNCLOS and to inform the international community concerning to the status of MSR and TMT and certain practical issues raised in their implementation. However, out of seven costal states only Egypt has responded to the IOC’s questionnaire on MSR and TMT. Thus, the findings concerning the region of Eastern Mediterranean are not satisfactory and cannot provide adequate information either for the comparative study of existing national institutional frameworks or for the deduction of conclusions concerning consistent state practice related to marine scientific research in the region.

In order to counterbalance this lack of data during the conduct of this research, a questionnaire was sent to the embassies of all Eastern Mediterranean coastal states of the region in Greece concerning (a) the current national legislation for marine scientific research (including legislation concerning environmental impacts or liability issues related to marine scientific research and Argo floats deployment) and (b) the procedure to be followed in order to grant permission for marine scientific research to third countries. Out of seven countries only three contributed by providing relevant information, namely: Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

The conclusions from the research were that the deployment of Argo floats in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean follows the general rules concerning MSR included in UNCLOS and customary international law, despite the fact that four states in the region are not contracting parties to UNCLOS. Thus, the question lies on the extent that UNCLOS provisions on marine scientific research form part of customary international law.

Coastal state consent for research in the EEZ and the continental shelf forms part of the customary international law, since it fulfills both consistent state practice and opinion juris. However, there are certain more technical provisions of the related UNCLOS regime that their customary character may be doubted, due to “the paucity of state practice and because they do not have the fundamentally norm creating character necessary for an emergent rule of customary law”. In this context, Argo float deployment forms a new marine scientific activity, that is currently expanding at global level and thus systematic practice is still in a process of concretization.

In addition, the evolution of Argo equipment , i.e. the expansion of its capabilities (e.g. inclusion of biochemical sensors) creates new challenges for states’ cooperation in this domain. Consequently, UNCLOS provides the general framework but states still need to cooperate in order to accommodate institutionally current technological and scientific developments in marine science related to Argo float deployment.

Despite the fact that there have been no formal complaints from countries in the Mediterranean Sea about floats being deployed in their EEZs, the enhancement of Argo float deployments in the region depends greatly on the status of inter-state cooperation in the region which is hindered by: (a) pending delimitation agreements between neighboring states as well as the objections of third states to the proclamation of new zones, and (b) the absence of national regulations or comprehensive legal frameworks concerning floats deployment.

In order to counterbalance the impact of these parameters on Argo float deployment, it is essential to promote the dissemination of the technical dimensions of Argo programme nationally, in order to contribute at the sensitization of national authorities and European agencies following a bottom – up (from national to regional and international) institution-building approach. The role of IOC guidelines is crucial towards this direction and IOC contributes greatly to the elaboration of guidelines concerning new areas of scientific activity at seas. The European Union is also expected to contribute through the Euro-Argo ERIC which is expected to enhance cooperation among EU member states and associated countries.

D.5.1.2 Follow-on paper providing an understanding of the compliance of Euro-Argo with key EU policy areas

This short paper used the research undertaken and presented in D5.11 and D5.13 to provide an understanding of how currently Euro-Argo is compliant with key pertinent EU policy areas. This earlier research identified policy areas that were related to 'safety', ‘environmental’ and what had been identified in D5.11 as 'status'. This latter term is used to cover a multitude matters that generally impact on the legal standing of the floats with respect to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS] in general and Part XIII of that Convention in particular.

In trying to achieve the reports primary objective it was necessary to establish what the key EU policy areas were and for which compliance was required by Euro-Argo. The primary focus of the framework for which an understanding of compliance was sought were those policies emanating from the following key EU marine, maritime and related policy Directorates. These Directorates were:

• Directorate General Maritime [DG(MAR)],
• Directorate General Environment [DG(ENV)],
• Directorate General Science [DG(SCI)],
• Directorate General Research Joint Research Centre [DG(JRC)] and finally
• Directorate General Research Innovation [DG(RTD)].

It was decided that the report would concentrate on providing an understanding of those policies that were relevant and extant and also any future policies where compliance would have a significant bearing on the Euro Argo capability and its ability to contribute to the international Argo programme.

The research undertaken; within the framework set out above, provided a reassuring insight that the Euro-Argo capability born out of both the European Union and its Member States desire to provide a significant regional construct towards the international Argo capability, and founded on a strong project governance structure has ensured that compliance with the identified key policies that are embodied in current European law is clearly being achieved by the project and in a timely manner.

However, the research also highlighted that the future compliance with a limited number of developing EU policy areas; for example that of Good Environmental Status [GES] as embodied in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive [MSFD], would become difficult due to the possibility in this example that the very fabric of Argo floats being designated as potential source marine litter when the floats operational usefulness ceased.

Ongoing innovation in float design that allows for a greater range of sensors to be deployed was shown also to be a potential source of non compliance due to a change in the recognized “Status” of this capability caused by these enhancements. Especially compliance as it relates to ‘access’ being granted for these modified floats to operate in EU Coastal States waters under the Law of the Sea regime.

The understanding brought by this follow on paper highlights that continued compliance by Euro-Argo with key EU policies of relevance is not guaranteed. That is, unless an overview is maintained and acted upon for both the expected changes in the key policy areas and the innovation in float technology and modus operandi. This requirement will not be easily achieved unless the appropriate monitoring mechanisms and compliance procedures are put in place by Euro Argo.

WP6 : Conferences, workshop and outreach

Task 6.1 – Mediterranean and Black seas workshop

OGS and Ifremer organized a special marginal seas session at the 4th Argo Science Workshop which took place in Venice on 27-29 September 2012. In total, 234 people from 25 countries attended the Argo workshop. The oral presentations and posters dealing with Argo science in the Mediterranean and Black seas are listed in Tables 1 and 2, respectively. Dr. Poulain gave a presentation on “expanding Argo into marginal seas” at the final round table, with main focus on the Mediterranean and Black seas. More information on the Argo workshop is available at:

Task 6.2 - North Atlantic, including European northern seas and sub-polar Arctic ocean workshop

In WP6, SIDERI had initially planned this workshop as a separate event. As the planning for the meetings progressed, it was decided that too many meetings in the calendar would divide and dilute attendance. Therefore the workshop on the North Atlantic and High Latitudes (this task) was merged with the Euro-Argo science meeting (Task 6.3) to create a single event - the "4th Euro-Argo Science Meeting and Workshop on the Arctic and sub-Polar North Atlantic" held at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton 18-20 June, 2014. Details of this are given under Task 6.3 below.

Task 6.3 – Organize one Euro-Argo group science meeting

4th Euro-Argo Science Meeting and Workshop on the Arctic and sub-polar North Atlantic was held at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton 18-20 June, 2014. The workshop was attended by 67 participants from 11 different countries, some of which are not yet Euro-Argo members.

In January 2013 a web site with on-line forms for submission of abstracts and workshop registration was set up in January 2013 to facilitate organization of the workshop. Based on the submitted abstracts, the conveners decided on a programme of 23 oral presentations and 10 poster presentations were organized into five sessions on the following themes:

1. The use of Argo data to monitor the global ocean
2. Argo in the Mediterranean and Black Sea
3. Bio-Argo and technical aspects of Argo
4. The North Atlantic
5. High Latitudes

The abstracts are still available from the workshop web site at This continues to be accessed by Argo users. The workshop was a success, attracting a larger number of participants than previous workshops of a similar kind. There was a general consensus that the Euro-Argo workshop series should continue in the future, as it represents an opportunity to catch up on recent technological development, processing methodologies and the latest scientific results.

The combination of general Argo themes with a more specialist regional session worked well, and could be a useful model for future workshops.

For workshop summaries and proceedings - see deliverable D6.2.1-6.3.1

Task 6.4 – Develop and maintain the Euro-Argo educational web-site

Educational web site hosted at NOC

The educational website "Explore the Ocean with Argo" site was set up under the original Euro-Argo project to stimulate interest in youth audience, attract future scientists in the broad fields of marine sciences, and to increase public awareness of role of the ocean in the global environment and of Argo as an essential component of a global ocean observing system. In SIDERI the float selection was extended to include biological Argo floats, and provide background information on biogeochemical properties of the ocean, as well as the link between these and marine ecology and climate change.

The education web site currently consist of 33 web pages with background information about oceanography, the Argo programme and marine biology, organized into eight main sections: In addition to extending the original main sections of the web site, a new section on biological Argo floats has been added to the site. This contains information about sensor technology, parameters measured, and their use in marine biology and biogeochemistry, with links to a further 11 pages of bio-optical background information. The interactive quizzes have been extended to include a 'beginner level' series of 5 quiz pages, following feedback from website users in the first year of SIDERI.

In the second year of SIDERI the domain names and were purchased (until October 2918). This was used for the workshop, and the education web site was migrated to a subdirectory with its permanent address at The migration involved an update of the interactive components and the pages dealing with the float selection, in order to comply with new licensing terms and display programs used for Google Maps. These pages are now compatible with HTML5 and should be compatible with new developments in web browser technology and Google Maps over the next couple of years.

Google Analytics for the website reveals that the site receives about 120 visitors per month of which 68% are new visitors. The 'bounce' rate is low; only 29% of visitors leave the site without exploring beyond the first page. On average visitors view 4.9 pages and spend 9 1/2 minutes before leaving the site. This indicates that the content is found to be sufficiently interesting to retain over 2/3 of the visitors. The majority of visitors to the site are relatively young - 28% under 24 years of age, and 34% in the age range 25-24.

French education outreach through 'mon océan & moi'

The French contribution to Argo outreach has taken place primarily through ‘mon océan & moi’ hosted at the Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche (France). On a dedicated website, one may find answers to a series of questions, a number of resources (e.g. animations, pictures and maps) and educational material including exercises proposed by teachers, quizzes and games. The website comprises specific information on profiling floats. This includes information on float technology and instrumentation, supported for example by a video of an easily reproducible experiment that explains some basic physical knowledge in order to better understand how undersea robots as profiling floats work.

Closely linked to the mon ocean & moi program is the adopt a float initiative. This initiative invites school classes to adopt a profiling float, to follow it during its scientific voyage and to share experiences. Researchers/engineers and PhD students support each class; for the latter participating to an outreach project is part of their training.

Mon océan & moi team members also participate in local education and outreach events e.g. the so-called “Science festival” (open house presentation at the laboratory, cf. pictures below) and the “Springtime of Research” (presentation of research projects in the center of Nice/France) taking place once a year and lasting several days.

A more detailed evaluation of the mon océan & moi activities is underway. The experiences however show already that there would be a need to enlarge the offer online as well as to strengthen the hands-on activities. Some more of the latter may be developed in a modular way. Furthermore, science facilitators or (future) researches/engineers may be trained to animate and inform a varying public in float topics.

The outreach and educational activities presented here may be considered as a “prototype” of what could be further developed within the context of Euro-Argo.

Potential Impact:

Euro-Argo ERIC, the European component of Europe to Argo

The potential impact of the project is a European and international extension of the Euro-Argo ERIC considering strategic aspects of the infrastructure (its structure and operation, an analysis of float technology, strategy for deployment) leading to technical work to improve the data system and float technology.

The international Argo programme is presently at a critical juncture where strategic decisions have to be taken. The observing array has been developed progressively over the years on a best efforts basis, relying mainly on short-term research funds, with rather limited sustained operational funding. Now the array has over 3600 floats in operation, the data centres are effectively collecting and distributing high quality data to both research and operational users, and the project has demonstrated its ability to detect critical ocean changes, the main challenge is to implement the European research infrastructure, Euro-Argo, for ocean and climate research and monitoring.

Monitoring of the global climate system requires long term, high quality observations. The critical challenge is to transition from a research activity to a sustained, long term, observing system. Research activities have a relatively short time span, and are strongly dependent on the individual scientists who conduct them. A permanent observing system must have the proper organizational back-up, sustained funding basis, and institutional framework to operate independently of the individuals involved.

In order to optimise the investment and to operate the infrastructure most efficiently, a high degree of integration is needed. The Euro-Argo preparatory phase and SIDERI projects have succeeded in establishing a Research infrastructure in which 8 members and 2 observers will coordinate their efforts and resources to contribute effectively to the Argo programme. They share a vision for the strategic and tactical choices that must be made. Finally, a continuous feedback with the scientific community has been initiated with the creation of the User Group, so that science users can express their requirements with respect to the observing array design.

Argo is an ambitious project that is breaking new ground in the widespread deployment of low cost autonomous instruments in hostile environments. Technology development in a European context will be a specific beneficiary of the outcomes of the project.

Specifically, the emphasis on building and sustaining the array in a cost-effective manner places particular emphasis on monitoring the performance of all European deployed instruments and hence learning how to diagnose incipient float failure and using this to improve float design. The effort to increase the effectiveness and throughput of delayed mode data quality control will have significant benefit in learning how sensors perform and degrade following long exposure to bio-fouling and pressure/temperature cycling.

The formation of a Euro-Argo users group provides an effective forum for the discussion of these issues between users and float and sensor manufacturers. Since one of the commercial float manufacturers is European, this information could provide a competitive advantage.

Finally, Euro-Argo through SIDERI provides encouragement for the participation of new and small European nations in the use of the float technology and in the use of Argo data.

Specific benefits from Euro-Argo ERIC:

The specific benefits from Euro-Argo ERIC will include:

• Greater efficiency in float procurement as the smaller countries will be able to rely on Euro-Argo for specifying their floats, procuring their floats and potentially benefit from price reductions associated with larger orders.
• Euro-Argo will provide a central capability for float testing and preparation and storage which will mean that new participants do not have to invest in technical staff or storage facilities.
• Stronger European coordination of float deployments will ensure that certain areas are not overpopulated at the expense of others or the global array.
• Strengthening the European Argo data processing centres.
• Providing a mechanism for developing consistent inputs and a more concerted European voice into the international Argo programme, hence giving a stronger European influence on how Argo develops in the future.
• Euro-Argo will deliver a stronger and more coherent European contribution to float technology development, with particular emphasis on European needs leading to improved capability, performance and lifetime.
• Through Euro-Argo it will be possible to sustain and build upon the European Argo Users’ Group established during the Preparatory Phase in order to ensure that users’ needs are articulated and that the best scientific and technical advice continues to feed into Euro-Argo.
• It will also provide the means to sustain important outreach activities needed to explain to schoolchildren and the general public the importance of observations from the oceans towards dealing with climate change and other environmental issues.
• Euro-Argo will play a leading role in extending float coverage into the Nordic Seas and Arctic Ocean, regions which are presently outside of the ‘core’ Argo design but which have a significant impact on the Atlantic circulation and climate change impacting western Europe.
• A stronger European contribution to Argo will also be a major contribution towards sustaining the global float array, which has been shown to be an essential core element of our ability to run predictive climate models (e.g. on seasonal to decadal timescales) and to run operational models (e.g. for the Copernicus Marine Service) for ocean analysis and prediction.

The collection of ocean observation from research vessels is limited only to a few major Marine Institutes which have the ability to organise and conduct research cruises. Systematic in-situ global ocean observations are presently available only through the Argo array. There is no doubt that the Euro-Argo research infrastructure will greatly contribute to foster active research programmes in Europe in the fields it aims to serve: ocean science in general, and more particularly the role of the ocean in the global climate system. By providing adequate networking and cooperation between member states, it will contribute to the development of European excellence in ocean and climate research. The open policy on Argo data access, which is easily and freely available, is aimed to facilitate the development of vigorous and successful research by a wide ocean scientific community in Europe.

Copernicus and the Marine Service

Argo is the single most important in-situ observing system for the Copernicus Marine Service and its MyOcean project. Based on the combination of space and in situ observations and on data assimilation, MyOcean provides information on the ocean for the large scale (worldwide coverage) and regional scales (main European basins and seas): temperature, salinity, currents, ice extent, sea level, primary ecosystems.

The targeted applications belong to four main areas:

 Marine safety (e.g. marine operations, oil spill combat, ship routing, search & rescue);
 Marine resources management (e.g. fish stock management);
 Climate and seasonal forecasting (e.g. climate change monitoring, ice seasonal forecasting);
 Marine and coastal environment (e.g. water quality, coastal activities).

Argo delivers critical data (especially over the vertical dimension of the oceans) for assimilation in MyOcean ocean models. Without Argo and a strong European contribution to Argo, MyOcean modelling and assimilation systems will thus not be sufficiently constrained and will not be able to serve the above key applications.

The UNFCCC and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems

The Euro-Argo RI can be seen as one of the actions that the European Union and participating Member States are taking to fulfil their obligations under several Conventions and international treaties.

The European Union is a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which includes (Article 4) a Commitment to:

 “Promote and cooperate in scientific, technological, technical, socio-economic and other research, systematic observation and development of data archives related to the climate system and intended to further the understanding and to reduce or eliminate the remaining uncertainties regarding the causes, effects, magnitude and timing of climate change and the economic and social consequences of various response strategies;
 Promote and cooperate in the full, open and prompt exchange of relevant scientific, technological, technical, socio-economic and legal information related to the climate system and climate change, and to the economic and social consequences of various response strategies;
 Promote and cooperate in education, training and public awareness related to climate change and encourage the widest participation in this process, including that of non-governmental organizations;

Its Article 5 is fully devoted to Research and Systematic Observation.

All of those commitments underpin the Euro-Argo terms of reference and have been included ab initio in its design, data policy and data system architecture, as well as in several actions initiated under the Euro-Argo Preparatory Phase Project.

Similarly, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) was launched in response to calls for action by the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and by the G8 (Group of Eight), and in the spirit of the UNFCCC. These high-level meetings recognized that international collaboration is essential for exploiting the growing potential of Earth observations to support decision making in an increasingly complex and environmentally stressed world.

GEO is a voluntary partnership of governments and international organizations. It provides a framework within which these partners can develop new projects and coordinate their strategies and investments. As of March 2011, GEO’s Members include 86 Governments and the European Commission. GEO is constructing GEOSS on the basis of a 10-Year Implementation Plan for the period 2005 to 2015. The Plan defines a vision statement for GEOSS, its purpose and scope, expected benefits, and the nine “Societal Benefit Areas” of disasters, health, energy, climate, water, weather, ecosystems, agriculture and biodiversity.

In this somewhat complex architecture of System of Systems is the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and its ocean component, the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), all of which have strongly endorsed Argo as a high priority programme. Indeed, one can readily see how Argo fits into a vision that will go towards meeting several of the societal benefit areas:

 Reducing loss of life and property from natural and human-induced disasters, through applications of the Copernicus Marine Core Services (e.g. ocean surface conditions for hurricane prediction);
 Improving the management of energy resources, ocean knowledge necessary for off-shore operations such as deep sea oil, or wind turbines;
 Understanding, assessing, predicting, mitigating, and adapting to climate variability and change, where ocean observations are indispensable;
 Improving water resource management through better understanding of the water cycle, upper ocean knowledge for understanding air sea interaction and the evaporation / precipitation balance (e.g. monsoons)
 Improving weather information, forecasting and warning, obvious need for ocean data;
 Improving the management and protection of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems,
 Understanding, monitoring and conserving biodiversity, including ocean biodiversity (e.g. impact of ocean acidification).

Other international conventions or directives, the European Marine Strategy

There are numerous international conventions covering the marine environment, all of which call for the implementation of ocean monitoring systems and strong research programmes. For instance, the OSPAR Convention is the current legal instrument guiding international cooperation on the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic (the European Commission, representing the European Union, is among the participants). The Convention includes a strategy for the Joint Assessment and Monitoring Programme, which assesses the status of the marine environment and follows up implementation of the strategies and the resulting benefits to the marine environment. Although this is not a separate Strategy, the OSPAR Commission has also considered the relevance of climate change issues in a wider context.

Another example is the European Union's ambitious Marine Strategy Framework Directive (adopted in June 2008) to protect more effectively the marine environment across Europe. It aims “to achieve good environmental status of the EU's marine waters by 2020 and to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive constitutes the vital environmental component of the Union's future maritime policy, designed to achieve the full economic potential of oceans and seas in harmony with the marine environment.”

The main dissemination activities

The main tool for the dissemination and exchange of information among project partners and other interested parts is the Euro-Argo website:

The other dissemination activities are described above in the task 6.4.

List of Websites: