"When Iridium takes on, we would loose information on surface currents ..."
I guess Argo will gradually move to new generation telecommunication systems, with a downlink(Iridium, Argos 3),and this will substancially decrease the surface time and the energy used for transmissions. It will dramatically increase the bandwidth as well. It may help to avoid float beaching in Marginal seas (e.g: the stranding rate is about 15% in the Med. Sea while it is around 1.5% globally).Beyond these critical progress, Argo has to focus on its core mission: deep T/S profiling.Surface observations are made through other (fully operational) programmes via satellites or drifting buoys (see DBCP programme).You will still have ~3000 units using the Argos system for the next 3-5 years and staying 12 hours or more at the surface, transmitting data (256 bits) every minute or so hoping that a satellite will grab it ...But this old system works very well.So you can eventually use surface positions with floats for tracking surface currents but I think the drifters, equipped with a drogue, sending data every hour, through a 500km x 500km global array are more appropriate.
Argo is GREAT observation system for the Earth's oceansmy best regards to Dean Roemmich and all Argo Teams..Aji Putra Perdanahttp://ajiputrap.blogspot.com/
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