Google Earth balloon with float information

google earth screenshot
  1. Float number: a unique ID that distinguishes this float from all others.
  2. Float information includes float type (this one is an APEX float); lauch date, number of days in operation, number of profiles (float cycles), last report date, etc.
  3. Country and owner. Most floats are owned by national Argo programmes, but some may be owned by research organisations and may be used for example to test new types of measurements or collect information for a particular research programme.
  4. Temperature (T) profiles show how temperature (horizontal axis) changes with depth (vertical axis with the surface at the top). The plot inlcudes all the T-profiles made by the float during its active life, usually one every 10 days. A rainbow colour scale is used, with early profiles in blue and the latest profiles in deep red.
  5. Salinity (S) profiles show how salinity changes with depth. The unit used is psu (practical salinity units).
    1 psu = 1 ppt (part per thousand) equivalent to 1 g of salt dissolved in 1 kg (about 1 litre) of water.
  6. Temperature (T) section: this coloured plot tells you how the temperature of the water has changed with depth during the time the float has been in the water. The colour represents the temperature of the water; blue is cold; red is warm. In a T-section each profile is represented by a very thin vertical stripe.
  7. Salinity (S) section: this shows how salinity has changed with depth over the lifetime of the float.
  8. The Colour bar allows you to see exactly how each colour represents a particular temperature in the T-section, and a particular salinity in the S-section.

The balloon also contains a link to a web page where you can find larger plots (with axis labels you can read) and extra information to help you interpret what you see.

The web page also tells you how to download the data to look at the individual profiles and find where the float made each measurement. Choose ASCII format if you wish to to see the numbers in a textfile or plan to create your own plot in a spreadsheet.

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