Argos-3 Satellite Communication System: Implementation on the Arvor Oceanographic Profiling Floats

The scientific community observes the ocean for applications in the fields of oceanography and climate research. In order to recover in situ data, more than 3,000 profiling floats are operated in the framework of the Argo Program. Each float performs cycles between the sea surface and a depth of 2,000 meters. Scientific data are gathered while the float is travelling upward from the depths of the oceans, and are then transmitted via a satellite communication system at the end of each cycle. During its time at the surface, mainly dedicated to transmissions, the float is vulnerable and subject to drift, which limits its use in many studies. Moreover, transmission times are becoming longer due to a trend towards high resolution or multi-sensor profiles. Consequently, the transmission system embedded in the profiling floats had to evolve. Argos-3 is the latest generation of the Argos satellite communication system. It has been designed to allow instruments to transmit more data in a small time budget, and as an alternative to Iridium, already implemented on profiling floats in restrictive applications. This study aims to evaluate the implementation of Argos-3 on Arvor profiling floats. Tests were carried out first in the laboratory, before being implemented on the Arvor float and deployed at sea. We proved that the high data rate mode suffered from European electromagnetic noise, which is incompatible with our application. We successfully qualified the interactive low data rate mode, which is capable of transmitting an entire dataset in a few minutes, compared to 8 to 10 hours for the previous Argos-2 system!


Buoy observations, In situ oceanic observations, Instrumentation, sensors, Profilers, oceanic

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Andre Xavier, Moreau Bertrand, Le Reste Serge (2015). Argos-3 Satellite Communication System: Implementation on the Arvor Oceanographic Profiling Floats. Journal Of Atmospheric And Oceanic Technology. 32 (10). 1902-1914.,

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