8 Jun 2012

Ocean robots to monitor Kiribati waters

11:56 am on 8 June 2012

13 ocean robots are being dropped into the waters near Kiribati to monitor the ocean there.

The latest, high-tech versions of the Argo float, an automatic ocean sensing robot, will help scientists monitor and understand the ocean processes behind El Niño and La Niña weather systems.

The latest generation of the Argo floats is upgraded with satellite phones, which allow the data to be transmitted back to shore in minutes, compared with older versions which took hours.

They collect temperature and salinity data between 2,000 metres and the ocean surface and send it back to land.

An oceanographer with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Gregory Johnson, says the data should give a better picture of ocean processes, such as mixing in various parts of the water column and how energy moves within the ocean in that part of the world.