UK Argo Programme - profiling float data set (2001 onwards)

Data set information

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Data holding centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
CountryUnited Kingdom  United Kingdom
ProjectARGO profiling float(ARGO)
Time periodFrom 2001 onwards
Geographical area

World wide coverage


Chlorophyll pigment concentrations in water bodies; Dissolved oxygen parameters in the water column; Lagrangian currents and transport rates in the water column; Nitrate concentration parameters in the water column; Optical backscatter; Salinity of the water column; Alkalinity, acidity and pH of the water column; Visible waveband radiance and irradiance measurements in the water column; Temperature of the water column


Fluorometers; satellite tracking system; radiometers; optical backscatter sensors; water temperature sensor; nutrient analysers; salinity sensor; dissolved gas sensors; pH sensors


The UK Argo program is an active contributor to the international Argo program, offering a comprehensive data set vital for supporting global oceanographic research. The data set includes a mixture of near-real-time and delayed-mode data collected by profiling floats, quality controlled to operational ocean forecasting standards and to climate research standards respectively. Real-time data are available within 24 hours of the float surfacing, while delayed-mode data become available within 12 months of the profile date. UK Argo floats data are typically managed by the British Oceanographic Data Centre. Argo floats operate in profiling ‘cycles’, normally repeated every 10 days throughout their lifetime. As part of a cycle, floats drift at their parking depth of approximately 1000m for 5 or 10 days, then sink to 2000m before starting their ascent to the surface, taking temperature and conductivity measurements at regular intervals. Since 2012, biogeochemical sensors have gradually been rolled out across a portion of the UK Argo fleet, reflecting the broadening research focus of the international Argo program. The UK Argo data set now includes measurements of dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll fluorescence, optical backscatter, pH, nitrate and irradiance. Moreover, an array of Deep Argo floats have recently been adding observations as deep as 6000m, and deployments have ventured to higher latitudes. The UK Argo data set has a variety of uses, including assimilation into operational weather forecasts in near-real-time to climate and ocean biogeochemistry research with the delayed mode data. In addition to its national efforts, the British Oceanographic Data Centre manages floats deployed by partner nations including Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, and Portugal. This collaboration underscores the cross-border cooperative nature of the program, which is fundamental to its world-wide success.

OriginatorsBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
Marine Institute
Met Office, Exeter
National Oceanography Centre (Southampton)
Southampton Oceanography Centre
United Kingdom Hydrographic Office

Wong, Annie P. S. et al. (2020) Argo Data 1999–2019: Two Million Temperature-Salinity Profiles and Subsurface Velocity Observations From a Global Array of Profiling Floats,

Data web site
OrganisationBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
ContactPolly Hadžiabdić (Head of the BODC Requests Team)

British Oceanographic Data Centre
Joseph Proudman Building 6 Brownlow Street
L3 5DA
United Kingdom

Telephone+44 (0)782 512 0946
Collating centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
Local identifier1048098
Global identifier213
Last revised2024-05-14