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This PROVOR float was launched by French scientists west of the Azores at 37.2°N, 30.1°W on 26 July 2007. It has recorded a total of 223 profiles, and made its last report on 16 August 2013 from 39.8°N, 34.8°W.
This float is a good example of the mid-latitude ocean. Here, and in the tropics, the ocean is divided vertically into a surface and deep ocean, separated by a permanent thermocline that limits interaction between them.
The surface ocean is strongly influenced by seasonal changes in the strength of sun and wind, and in constant exchange with the atmosphere. Heat, moisture and gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide flows between the two over periods of days to a few years.
In the deep ocean the water is cold and much denser than the warm surface water. It is rich in carbon dioxide and nutrients, from decomposition of dead plants and animals that sink down from the surface.
The permanent thermocline almost acts like a 'lid' on the deep ocean, keeping the cold, carbondioxide -and nutrent-rich deep water from returning to the surface. In summer there is also a seasonal thermocline, which is not so deep, and breaks down in the autumn when wind and waves mix the surface ocean. You should be able to see both thermoclines in this Argo data.
Profiles of temperature (left) and salinity (right) from Argo float 4900303. The profiles show how temperature (T) and salinity (S) change with depth from the surface to 2000m. Early profiles are dark blue, the latest profiles are deep red or brown. Click on the images for larger plots. Source of plots: IFREMER/Coriolis.
Time series of temperature (left) and salinity (right) from Argo float 4900303. The sections show all the temperature (T) and salinity (S) profiles measured by the float during its life-time side by side. Each profile is represented by a very thin column where deep red is the highest values and deep blue the lowest. The colour bars on the right relate the colours to actual data values. Profile numbers are given along the top of the plot, with corresponding measurement dates along the bottom. Click on the images for larger plots. Source of plots: IFREMER/Coriolis.
Look at the float trajectory in Google Earth to see where the float has been. (If in doubt about how to reveal the float tracks, see our Google Earth screenshot for help.) Compare this to the maps of temperature and salinity for different depths available for example from Mercator ocean analyses.
The Argo Information Centre has more information about this float. You can also download the data from one of the Data Centres - just select Data > Data Downloads.
There are many different formats available. ASCII data can be viewed in spreadsheets such as Excel. The other data types may require more specialist software.