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Euro-Argo Research Infrastructure Sustainability and Enhancement

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Euro-Argo RISE (Euro-Argo Research Infrastructure Sustainability and Enhancement)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-06-30

Argo is the first global, real-time in situ ocean-observation network and marks a true revolution in global ocean observation. Argo is essential for ocean observations, complementing satellite observations that are limited to measuring the ocean’s surface only a few meters just below the surface.
As a major component of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the Argo programme is actively participating in monitoring and understanding climate change and its impact on ocean health. Argo therefore ultimately contributes to two of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015: SDG13 “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” and SDG14 “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”.
A new phase of the Argo programme is now being implemented at international level, that has two main objectives: 1/ sustain the existing global array and 2/ extend its capabilities to greater depths and to biogeochemistry. This new Argo vision advocates for a ‘Global, full-depth and multidisciplinary array’. Developing Argo and its extensions is, in particular, one of the top priorities of the G7 Future of Oceans.
The overall objectives of Euro-Argo RISE project follows this impetus and aims at sustaining and extending the Argo network at the European level. By providing essential ocean observations, Euro-Argo RISE aims to secure and improve the current network (monitoring temperature and salinity in the top 2,000m of the ocean) as well as to set up and organise on the long term the new components of the network, extending Argo observations towards biogeochemistry, greater depth, partially ice-covered and shallower water regions within a long-term sustainability plan supported by Member States and funding agencies. This project will foster European voice to contribute to the targets for the Argo network, e.g maintain a network of at least 4000 floats, with ¼ carrying biogeochemical parameters and ¼ going to abyssal depths.
By testing new sensors for the core, the deep and the BGC mission, partners engaged in diversifying the sensors to sustain and expand the network. Successful tests of RBR new sensor have been carried out for the core mission, and two sensors from TriOS are tested for the biogeochemical part, with mixed results so far for OPUS sensor but promising ones for RAMSES. The deep sensors tests have suffered from delivery delays during the COVID-19 period and should be done by the end of 2020.
Technological progress also include the need of technical feedback on existing fleet to optimise floats configuration and to improve their life expectancy. To this end, very significant progress have been made with a huge analysis of Argo float configurations that led to provide recommendations on energy budget estimations to float manufacturers.
Technological progress also include deploying floats to test them closer to the coast. Six floats have been successfully deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and Baltic Sea, and should allow to see the feasibility of deploying Argo in shallower waters in terms of instruments, mission configuration and human resources.
Data management is key to provide qualified data both in real-time and delayed-mode. Partners have conducted two exhaustive surveys to understand the tools used by delayed-mode operators for the core and the deep mission. A European online collaborative framework has been developed to foster exchanges and expertise on delayed-mode procedures with a final goal to improve the overall Argo dataset quality. New softwares and tools are actively developed for core Argo and will benefit the deep and biogeochemical community. Biogeochemical data don’t have delayed-mode methods developed yet for all parameters and significant advances have been done for all the six biogeochemical parameters during this period.
Services to users gather all added-values the community can offer to existing and new users. To better assess users' needs, a questionnaire has been distributed widely to the community. Regarding existing users, tools (selection and 3D display tools) have been improved to become more user-friendly. The outline of the Argo online school, focused on promoting and improving data access and usage, has been defined as well as a list of Argo use cases. These latter aim to show the importance of Argo data for research and societal benefits in a format understandable by everyone.
Gathering users is also a way of understanding their needs and provides them with fit-for-purpose services. Ocean Observers Initiative, dedicated to the educational community, has progressed through the creation of a working group and associated terms of reference with a workshop planned in 2021.
To gather the Euro-Argo community around Argo science, the 7th Science Meeting was successfully held in Greece. It reflected the growth of Argo data, and also the dynamism and engagement of the European Argo community.
Each of these results is crucially taking Euro-Argo members to a higher level of performance with regard to Argo activities and contributing to improve the overall Argo network and enhance the Euro-Argo community.
The Euro-Argo RISE project aims to make the European contribution to the Argo network progressing in all its components and aspects and reinforce its sustainability in the long term. What will be achieved within the project will enable Euro-Argo to significantly contribute to answer the urgent challenges that we are facing with regard to global change. It will also help the Argo network to meet future needs as stated recently through a joint publication of the international Argo community published in August 2019 in the OceanObs19 Frontiers Special issue.
The innovation potential of the project (sensor diversification, implementation of Deep and Biogeochemical Argo, Marginal Seas uniqueness and adaptation of monitoring tools, enhancement of data quality, development of new services and tools for users, collaborations and engagement with new communities, higher level of integration in the framework of in situ ocean observing systems) will also have a positive impact on the research infrastructure, on scientific, technological, training and education, economic and societal and social aspects.
Socio-economic impacts of the Euro-Argo RISE activities are expected to be large on the longer run. Given the prominent role of Argo for climate change research, its contribution to (as indicated in the last IPCC report), and impact for seasonal and decadal climate forecasting, is of paramount importance for citizens and policy makers. Indeed, Argo’s socio-economic impacts extend to the wide range of ocean services developed through global and regional operational oceanography systems, such as those developed by the Copernicus Marine Service or EMODnet, in areas including maritime transport and safety, fishery management and water quality (MSFD).
In the coming decade, Euro-Argo RISE will tremendously boost the scientific impact of Argo, by involving new scientific users and communities. In addition, Euro-Argo RISE will sustain European industrial activities and technological expertise on ocean sciences, with important socioeconomic impacts on national and European levels.
Investing in such global ocean observations has thus potentially a high benefits/costs ratio.
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