The Barcelona World Race will be the first Ocean Race with mandatory Argo float deployments from all participating yachts !
Argo floats are a crucial component of the Global Ocean and Climate Observing System. 3500 of these autonomous robots, from 30 participating countries, currently observe the 2000m upper layer of the ocean. The deployment of 1000 units per year, required to maintain the network, is an enormous challenge in which France plays an important role.
Floats are mostly deployed from research vessels, e.g. during the last GEOVIDE2014 cruise. Although crucial to maintain the scientific quality of the Argo data array, such cruises are insufficient to maintain a uniform network distribution, in particular in the Southern Ocean.
After successful tests, the Barcelona World Race will now be the first Ocean Race with mandatory float deployments from all participating yachts in the IMOCA60 category. The instruments and skipper's education are provided by Coriolis (France). Floats will all be released on an “Argo day”, allowing for a good spatial distribution in the existing array, and without disturbing the skippers more than necessary.
A total of 9 floats paid for by Ifremer and SHOM will be deployed. This operation is coordinated by JCOMMOPS, a JCOMM instance coordinating in situ observational networks for GOOS.
More details here: