Argos DCS System Use Agreement of the Month

Argos System Use Agreements of the Month were highlighted from August 2012 to May 2017 to reflect the incredible diversity of Argos use in the U.S. and globally. While we are no longer posting new entries, these 58 summaries remain relevant and are archived accordingly.

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  • 2012

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Spatial Ecology of Barred Owls & Spotted Owls University of Wisconsin – Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology


Barred owls have colonized much of the Pacific Northwest, resulting in substantial declines in the abundance and distribution of the endangered northern spotted owl. Currently, barred owls are relatively rare in the Sierra Nevada, the core range of the declining California spotted owl (CSO). However, increases in barred owl abundance in the Sierra Nevada could accelerate CSO declines. Our research is designed in part to understand the spatial ecology of the nascent barred owl expansion in the Sierra Nevada in order to guide management of both the barred owl and the CSO.


  1. Track dispersing juvenile barred owls to determine dispersal capabilities and locate previously unknown aggregations of adult barred owls over larger spatial scales than might be possible with surveys;
  2. track adult and sub-adult barred owls during the breeding season to determine whether they are maintaining distinct territories; and
  3. track adult and sub-adult California spotted owls during the breeding season to determine how the presence of barred owls may influence the spatial ecology of the spotted owl.

Potential Results

  1. We expect juvenile dispersal to be characterized by periods of rapid, long-distance movements punctuated by periods of relative stasis. This pattern would likely be driven by the tension between an intrinsic behavioral disposition towards dispersal and the recognition of patches of high-quality habitat. Dispersal distances may be low, because there are likely relatively few territorial adult conspecifics preventing them from establishing territories, or they could be high because the birds may move until a suitable mate is found.
  2. If barred owls exist at low densities in the Sierra Nevada, we expect that they will not consistently maintain and defend static territories, and will instead move widely across the landscape in search of a mate.
  3. It is widely accepted that barred owls out-compete spotted owls. However, there is very little detailed spatial information regarding how those interactions unfold. Competition may cause home range size to decrease, as individuals are prevented from accessing more distant resources.

For more information visit Connor M. Wood or Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison

Dust in the Upper Stratosphere Tracking Experiment and Retrieval (DUSTER)
Parthenope University of Naples


DUSTER is an instrument designed to fly onboard stratospheric balloons with the aim of collecting dust present in the upper terrestrial stratosphere (i.e., 30-40 lm altitude). (Principal Investigator: V. Della Corte).

In January/February (2017) a collection campaign will be performed from Antarctica. During the flight DUSTER needs to be tracked following the balloon trajectory. In addition, it will be critical for the success of the program that DUSTER be recovered.

Aleutian Tern
Alaska Department of Fish and Game


There is widespread concern in Alaska regarding the population status of Aleutian terns (ALTE).

Aleutian terns have a small global population with known breeding sites primarily restricted to the Russia Far East and Alaska. While ALTE populations seem to be stable or increasing in Russia, populations within Alaska appear to be decreasing since the 1960's.

Given that the only state where Aleutian terns breed within the USA is Alaska, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a stewardship responsibility to aid in the understanding of potential conservation concerns for this species.

The Aleutian tern is a difficult bird to study due to lack of breeding site fidelity, breeding habitat plasticity, gaps in accurate colony counts, variability in colony attendance within and among years, and potential for high inter-colony movement.

New technology from MTI in the form of their lightweight (2.2g) solar-powered PTTs will allow us to track individual birds during the breeding season. The information gathered from these individuals could include identification of previously unknown colonies, spatial extent of potential breeding dispersal, within year movements that aid in understanding of colony occupancy, and identification of migratory routes if the platforms last longer than expected.

All of the above information will aid in the understanding of the population status of Aleutian tern in Alaska that was never possible before. These data will shape appropriate further research and management actions to conserve the species.

For more information visit Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Learn more about the Aleutuan Tern.

Shark Tagging in Costa Rica
Misión Tiburón


Illegal fishers target primarily migrant species such as shark populations like scalloped hammerheads, tiger sharks, but also their longlines catch rays, turtles and other species of fish. Our proposed work will generate key information about shark and rays habitats, migratory routes and movement patters in the coastal and continental waters of Costa Rica and in surrounding waters of Coco National Park, to assess the boundaries and buffer zone of the current marine park for the consideration of possibly adjusting these boundaries based on findings as well as providing recommendations to the Ministry of Environment on improving management strategies for Coco. At the same time protection of key sites in the coastal and continental waters will be proposed, to safeguard key parts of the life cycles of sharks previous to their migration to Coco and other areas of the Coco-Galapagos Marine Corridor.

Long term goal:
Promote the health of Cocos Island National Park´s shark populations and marine ecosystems by means of the declaration of marine protected areas in critical habitats for threatened migratory species (sharks) in continental waters and a potential change of actual boundaries of the park, increasing them.

Specific goals:

  1. Identify critical or essential habitats for threatened migratory species of sharks in Cocos Island National Park, using acoustic and satellite telemetry.
  2. Evaluate migratory pathways throughout Costa Rican waters for threatened migratory species of sharks to Cocos Island National Park, using acoustic and satellite telemetry.

For more information visit Misión Tiburón >>>

Patagonian Toothfish in the South Atlantic (VMS)
Consolidated Fisheries


We are using Argos Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) units on our vessels fishing for Patagonian Toothfish in the South Atlantic.

Patagonian Toothfish is a valuable and protected resource and as such is highly regulated under international agreements.

We are licensed by the Falkland Islands Government and vessels must be fitted with a VMS unit as part of standard licensing conditions.

While we do not fish in CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) zones, our vessels follow the CCAMLR convention rules for Antarctic Zone and the Argos system is proven to work at our southern latitudes.

Program details:

  1. The Objective is to fish as to conserve the fishing resource and manage our vessel movements.
  2. The VMS units are owned and operated by ourselves.
  3. VMS data is sent to the CCAMLR.
  4. Both Argos and Inmarsat are approved by the Falkland Islands and UK Governments.
  5. We choose Argos for our vessels due to its accuracy at our latitudes, reliability and accessibility.

For more information visit Consolidated Fisheries Ltd.


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Golden Eagle Movements and Mortality
United States Fish and Wildlife Service


In collaboration with other USFWS employees (see December 2015 SUA of the month), we have expanded their research on Golden Eagle movements & mortalities in the western United States, extending the study northward.

We have attached PTTs to Golden Eagles of various age classes (nestlings, sub-adults & adults) and during various seasons of the year in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, & western Nebraska.

Our project’s objectives are to:

  1. Determine age-specific survival rates.
  2. Identify relative importance of various causes of mortality.
  3. Document natal dispersal distance & behavior.
  4. Track seasonal movement & inter-population mixing.
  5. Document seasonal resource selection & validate predictive occurrence models.
  6. Identify areas of high importance to the species, e.g. winter concentrations.
  7. Describe behavior & movement of unsuccessful territorial adults & floaters.

This research is vital to the conservation of Golden Eagles in western North America. We are gaining a much better understanding of movements, important concentration areas and causes of mortality in Golden Eagles, which is all essential information as we develop & implement conservation strategies that address all life cycle phases, limiting factors & key habitats used by Golden Eagles.

For more information visit:

Central Queensland University
Marine Debris Tracking


Marine debris is a common problem in coastal waters and tends to accumulate along certain parts of our beaches and shorelines or in circulating currents, depending on a variety of factors. It can harm wildlife, damage property and reduce visual amenity. Understanding the pathways of movement will help in better managing the problem and reducing risks.

One way to understand these patterns of movement of debris is to undertake tracking studies. Argos trackers will be imbedded in common debris items and released at known discharge points both during wet season and dry season conditions.

The pathways and the sinks for this debris will be identified, a risk map produced for the area to enable management decisions to be implemented.

U.S. Geological Survey – Alaska Science Center
Alaska Wildlife: Polar Bear and Walrus Research


USGS Polar Bear Research has three major objectives:

  1. Estimation of population size and trend;
  2. Description of movements; and
  3. Distribution patterns identification of maternal denning areas.
    These traditional research foci will continue into the foreseeable future.

USGS Polar Bear Research, however, now focuses on understanding the impacts of a warming Arctic on polar bear populations and the survival strategies of polar bears in coping with habitat loss. Polar bears are captured in the spring or fall by darting them from helicopters. Once immobile, we fit selected polar bears with PTTs so that we can follow them wherever they go. As the Arctic sea ice is modified due to global climate change, and as increasing numbers of people and their activities occur within polar bear habitats, it is increasingly important to understand trends in numbers, survival patterns, movements, and maternal denning.

Satellite telemetry is critical in these endeavors. Because they live almost exclusively on the drifting ice, it is impossible to physically follow polar bears through their life cycle. Also, the hazards of flying over the unstable ice prevent aerial monitoring of their behaviors and activities. Satellite telemetry, therefore, is the key to unraveling the many mysteries surrounding polar bears, and is one of the most important tools upon which we rely for understanding the ways in which modifications of the Arctic are likely to impact them.

Since the first PTTs were attached to polar bears in autumn of 1985, we have collected tens of thousands of relocations of polar bears. Those relocations have become the basis of numerous published papers and other reports. These data formed the foundation of the USGS research to provide information to the Department of Interior for their decision to list polar bears as a threatened species under the US Endangered Species Act.

Walrus also occupy habitats which make them difficult to study through direct observations. Because walrus depend on sea ice for many aspects of their life history they too are susceptible to habitat loss from climate change. The proximity of sea ice to benthic foraging habitats appears to be especially important to walrus. USGS scientists depend on satellite telemetry to understand walrus movements and distribution and to assist in estimations of population size. Data from PTTs is allowing USGS scientist to begin to understand habitat use patterns and foraging ecology.

For both polar bears and walrus, we expect that satellite telemetry will be increasingly important as we face a changing Arctic in future years and decades.

Learn more about Polar Bear Research and Walrus Research.

University of Pierre and Marie Curie


The main scientific goal is to quantify the CO2 flux at the sea-atmosphere interface in the tropical Atlantic basin, study its variability, understand the mechanisms generating this variability and study the long term evolution of the CO2 source for the atmosphere to predict this flux.

The equatorial upwelling and the Amazonian fresh water input are probably responsible for the CO2 variability observed in the eastern and western basins. To monitor it, a pCO2/O2 sensor has been installed on the PIRATA buoys at 6deg.S, 10deg.W (equatorial upwelling) and 8deg.N, 38deg.W (North equatorial counter current) to obtain hourly time series.

These observations are completing the observations obtained from Volunteering Observing Ships (VOS) in this area.

More information:

U.S. Geological Survey – Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Ecology of Gulf & Caribbean Sea Turtles


We have initiated several tagging and tracking studies on juvenile and sub adult green sea turtles, as well as sub adult and adult loggerheads, and juvenile, sub adult, and adult hawksbills in the Greater Everglades, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico.

Our aim is to determine whether these animals are resident in sites where they are captured (US Department of Interior National Parks such as Everglades and Dry Tortugas, US Department of Interior Wildlife Refuges such as Bon Secour, and US Department of Interior National Monuments such as Buck Island Reef).

We also aim to use satellite and GPS tracking to determine whether tagged turtles use the area of capture only as a stopover point in their migration routes. We will establish activity and habitat use patterns through the combined use of mark-recapture, satellite tracking, and molecular genetic techniques. We will also collect stomach contents to perform diet analysis for a subset of turtles from each site and record evidence of disease for all animals captured.


We will uniquely tag each turtle to allow for eventual estimation of probability of recapture and survival. Immediately after marking each animal, we will take standard morphometrics and withdraw a small blood sample (fraction of a milliliter) from the dorso-cervical sinus of each animal for laboratory analysis of mitochondrial DNA. These data will allow us to associate individual animals with known nesting beaches and thus populations of origin. We will use an oral lavage technique to obtain a sample of stomach contents for dietary analysis. We will also collect samples of the local submerged aquatic vegetation and algal cover and identify all samples to the species level and compare these samples to the regurgitated stomach contents. Finally, we will use satellite and GPS tags to track movements of individuals and determine core-use areas. Satellite telemetry has proven to be a successful tracking method for sea turtles as small as juveniles (Hart & Fujisaki 2010), yet most studies to date have focused on sea turtle use of offshore oceanic habitats or open, sandy nesting beaches (Godley et al. 2008). This research specifically addresses habitat requirements that may be necessary for the recovery of these federally threatened and endangered species.

Purpose / Relevance to the South Florida Ecosystem

This project fits into needs identified by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US National Marine Fisheries Service to contribute to recovery of federally listed endangered or threatened species and status survey for rare aquatic and terrestrial reptiles and amphibians in south Florida. The study sites may serve as important refuge or nursery areas, feeding grounds, or developmental habitat for these threatened and endangered sea turtles. It remains to be seen whether juvenile and sub adult green sea turtles are resident for any length of time in particular sites, but if so, their importance in the ecosystem must be accounted for in management plans.

Other Species to be Tagged

With the success of our sea turtle tagging and tracking program, we are also tagging and tracking endangered American crocodiles and alligators, as well as endangered Snail Kites and Wood storks. Thus, the suite of species that we are tracking in this program is expanding each year. We are excited about this program growth and will work to update our objectives as our pilot projects play out.

For more information visit the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center

Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)
Arctic Ocean Buoy Program


  1. To monitor and detect on-going change of the Arctic environmental conditions, especially for atmospheric & oceanographic parameters.
  2. To understand important processes among atmosphere, sea ice & ocean, such as ice melting & freezing which are closely related to recent reduction of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.
  3. To contribute to the International Arctic Buoy Programme which works for maintaining a network of drifting buoys in the Arctic Ocean, to provide meteorological & oceanographic data for real-time operational requirements & research purposes including supports to the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) & World Weather Watch (WWW) program.

For more information visit Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) website and Arctic Ocean and Climate System Research Unit.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Micro Return Capsule (MIRCA)


A Telonics TAV-2617 Argos transmitter will be on board a NASA flight test vehicle prototype for planetary exploration, MIRCA.

MIRCA is planned to be dropped off a NASA stratospheric balloon, launched from Ft. Sumner, NM no earlier than August 1st, 2016.

The Argos data collection and location system has been solely identified to aid in the search and recovery of MIRCA once it has landed.

For more information visit:

U.S. Geological Survey – Alaska Science Center
Caribou and Climate in Northern Alaska


Climate change is affecting caribou populations by altering the quality of growing season habitats in the Arctic. Current declines of caribou on the North Slope are amplifying concerns of climate-mediated effects on habitat quality, yet, the direction and magnitude of realized effects for this species are uncertain. The ability of caribou populations to remain abundant in the Arctic will depend, in part, on the resilience of individuals to survive and reproduce despite environmental changes.

The USGS and Alaska Department of Fish and Game are collaborating on studies to assess resource selection and space use of adult female caribou from the Central Arctic Herd relative to weather variables and the phenology of forage quality and abundance throughout the summer growing season. With data from a sample of 30 adult females fitted with ARGOS/GPS collars, we will ultimately estimate the capacity of free-ranging caribou to cope with the projected effects of climatic shifts over the next several decades on their summer habitats.

For more information, visit Terrestrial Mammal Ecology Research.

Whale Telemetry Group
Oregon State University – Marine Mammal Institute


This program explores the movements, dive patterns and behavior of marine mammals.

Our primary emphasis has been on endangered large whales but we also undertake management studies of significant problems with small cetaceans (dolphins and porpoises) and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions).

The basic information that we seek is the location of these animals to determine their migratory routes and seasonal habitats.

Our goals are to promote the wise use and conservation of marine resources including the identification of critical habitats and recommendations to promote their preservation.

For more information, visit Marine Mammal Institute's Whale Telemetry Group (WTG).

Land Ice and Sea Level Change
Utrecht University – Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research


In the framework of several international & national projects about 18 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) are erected on glaciers & ice sheets around the world.

On Antarctica ten AWS were placed in 1998 as part of the EPICA drilling project in collaboration with the Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian and German Antarctic Programmes. These stations were complemented with two AWS placed in 2008 along the Norwegian-American IPY traverse on the high plateau of East Antarctica, four AWS placed in 2009/2011 on the Larsen C ice shelf as part of a British-American-Netherlands cooperation, & one AWS placed near the Belgian Princess Elisabeth Station as part of a Belgian-Netherlands cooperation. About 6 of these stations are still operational. On Greenland three AWS are operated on a transect on the western margin of the ice sheet as part of a continuous mass balance monitoring project started in 1990.

In addition to the stations on the large ice sheets several AWS are placed on Alpine & Arctic glaciers in the framework of an ongoing glacier mass balance monitoring programme. For both glaciers & ice sheets ice dynamics play an important role in ice volume changes as well. In order to study the relation between glacier velocity & changes in mass balance ice velocity is monitored using an automatic velocity monitoring system in addition to the AWS & mass balance observations.

About 20 of these systems are places on three glaciers on Svalbard as part of the IPY GLACIODYN project, about 10 are placed on outlet glaciers of the Greenland ice sheet & two are placed on the Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctica. About 10 of these stations are still operational.

The goal of the AWS & velocity monitoring stations is to improve our knowledge about the climatological & ice dynamical conditions at these sites in order to obtain a better understanding of the relation between surface energy & mass balance, and glacier dynamics.

A better understanding of this relation will aid in improving our estimated of the contribution of melting glaciers & ice sheets to sea level rise.

An AWS consists of a vertical mast with a horizontal bar placed at approximately 3m height. The stations measure air temperature, wind speed, wind direction, instrument height, air pressure, short wave incoming & reflected radiation, and long wave incoming & emitted radiation.

For more information visit:

Kilimanjaro Weather Station
University of Massachusetts – Geosciences Department


In February of 2000, we installed an automated weather station on the Northern Icefield of Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. Our primary objective is to develop a better understanding of the atmospheric processes responsible for the continuing retreat of glaciers in East Africa.

Measurements from the weather station are also helping to calibrate the ice core record of past climate, and link the mountain climate to longer-term records at lower elevations in Tanzania. In conjunction with the record of past climate determined from the ice cores, our weather station is elucidating the forcing mechanisms and putting the current retreat of the glaciers in a longer-term perspective. Measurements and modeling results reveal that snowfall – magnitude, timing and frequency – is the most important factor governing surface mass balance of the summit glaciers, through control of albedo. Air temperatures at this site remain below freezing, except during exceptional conditions.

We installed an Argos transmitter on the station in February 2001, and began using the Argos Data Collection System. This has worked extremely well from the summit of Kilimanjaro, yielding a near-perfect record of data recovery. Through telemetry, we are able to continuously monitor the performance of instruments and power supply, invaluable information for planning visits to the station. In 2010 and 2012 we installed supplemental, high accuracy sensors compatible with the US Climate Reference Network (USCRN), further increasing the value of this long record from one of the world’s highest automated weather stations.

For more information visit:

Plastic Pollution Tracking
Pine Richland Middle School


I am a thirteen-year-old science student in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania studying the impact of plastic water bottles on the environment, specifically the ocean.

My experiment will be entered in the Covestro Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

My research shows that storm water runoff and shore-based pollution are two major sources of plastic waste in the ocean. I plan to launch an Argos drifting buoy from a river in my community to track its journey. The buoy will simulate floating plastic waste in waterways.

Although Pennsylvania is a land-locked state, it is possible for the buoy to make its way to the Mississippi River and perhaps even the Gulf of Mexico. I have researched models of how ocean waste travels from the shore and around the globe but I could not find models of river waste reaching the ocean.

Tracking the drifting buoy will give me a good example of how far local plastic pollution can travel and impact global waters. Also as a part of my project I will engineer a solution to reduce the amount of plastic waste that flows from small bodies of water into the oceans.

For more information visit:


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Norwegian Polar Institute – Tromso
Norwegian Young Sea Ice Cruise (N-ICE 2015)


N-ICE 2015 is a multidisciplinary research experiment in the Arctic Ocean lead by the Norwegian Polar Institute in collaboration with many international partners.

The Research Vessel LANCE will be frozen in the sea ice North of Svalbard from mid-January to the end of June 2015.

A wide range of sea ice, oceanographic, atmospheric & biological measurements will be conducted to increase our understanding of the coupled Arctic climate system.

A special emphasize lies on the now thinner & more movable ice cover compared to the sea ice a few decades ago.

In conjunction with the ice station at LANCE, an array of sea ice & ocean buoys will be deployed. Argos will be used for Metocean ICEB-CAN buoys as part of this array.

More information on Norwegian Young Sea Ice Cruise (N-ICE2015)

NOAA – Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory
Sustained Ocean Observations for Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Intensity


This is a multi-institutional effort that brings together the research & operational components within NOAA & the University community to implement & carry out sustained & targeted ocean observations from Sea-gliders in the Caribbean Sea & southwestern tropical North Atlantic Ocean.

The upper ocean thermal structure in this region has been linked to rapid intensification of tropical cyclones and to the seasonal Atlantic hurricane activity. However, there are only a few (<300) upper ocean thermal observations carried out per year in this region, & sustained ocean observations are currently not in place or planned. In addition, for the first time, current velocity profiles will be obtained from the Sea-gliders during the second year of the work to assist hurricane forecast models to reproduce the key ocean dynamic processes associated with tropical storm-induced cooling of the ocean surface.

The main objectives of the proposed work are to implement upper ocean observations from Sea-gliders, to evaluate their impact on & to improve: (1) hurricane intensity forecasts, and (2) hurricane seasonal forecasts; using a combination of these new sustained observations, targeted observations, data analysis & current NOAA operational forecast models. The combined expertise of the investigators involved in this project in carrying out observations, data processing, data distribution, data analysis & numerical modeling, will be reflected in the implementation & positive outcomes of the proposed work.

This work will implement a pilot array of two Sea-gliders to carry out sustained & targeted upper-ocean profiling of temperature (T), salinity (S) & current velocities (u, v) in areas of the Caribbean Sea & North Tropical Atlantic Ocean. Underwater gliders are cost effective observational underwater vehicles used for targeted & sustained upper-ocean observations, they operate easily in open waters, even under hurricane strength winds, and can be navigated across moderately strong currents.

Underwater gliders are durable, autonomous and have a low-drag & hydrodynamic shape, use battery power to control their buoyancy to move vertically, and use their wings to guide themselves forward along a remotely programmed trajectory. When their batteries run out, the underwater gliders can be recovered & then refurbished & redeployed immediately. Their small size (~2m long) & low weight (~50 kg) allow for an easy deployment & recovery by two people from a small vessel.

Underwater gliders transit at approximately 20-25 km/day while executing 8-10 T-S profiles/day to 1,000 meters and of (u, v) to 200 m. They can navigate approximately 4,000 km & collect & transmit about 1,600 profiles during a 6-month deployment. While surfaced, they can also download any new instructions for altering the navigation route. Data will be transmitted in real-time into the Global Telecommunication System (GTS) & will be used by scientists involved in this & all other projects that utilize GTS profile data. In this work, each Sea-glider will provide data of approximately 2,700 profiles per year.

Argos tags will be used as an emergency beacon in the event of a loss of communications with a glider and for recoveries at the surface.

For more information visit:

GNS Science (aka, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited)
Ruapehu Crater Lake Monitoring


We aim to measure and record the temperature, level and chemical properties of the Ruapehu Crater Lake in Central North Island (New Zealand), through which all of the recent eruptions from Ruapehu Volcano have occurred. (The most recent eruption occurred in September 2007, and badly injured a climber in a nearby mountain hut.)

These records will improve our models of the volcanic inputs and processes affecting the lake, with the objective of improving our ability to forecast volcanic activity.

This work is part of the Volcano objective of our Geological Hazards and Society Research Program, funded by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science & Technology (FRST).

Crater Lake is in a basin surrounded by a number of peaks of Mt Ruapehu (elevation 2797 m). This means we are unable to use terrestrial radio links to get data out from this location, hence the request for Argos satellite links.

Visit GNS Science for more information.

U.S.C.G. International Ice Patrol
ReU. S. Coast Guard Drifting Buoys


The United States Coast Guard International Ice Patrol (IIP) is the oldest continuous user of the Argos Data Collection and location System.

During the iceberg season in the western North Atlantic Ocean, IIP deploys and tracks 12-16 freely drifting buoys. These drifters provide ocean current and sea surface temperature data for IIP's operational iceberg drift and deterioration models.

IIP uses a combination of aerial and satellite reconnaissance along with computer models to determine the extent of the iceberg danger area in the North Atlantic Ocean from February through July each year. IIP warns mariners of the location of the icebergs with a daily graphical or text-based product.

IIP was established under international agreement shortly after the sinking of the RMS TITANIC. The International Ice Patrol is a unit of the United States Coast Guard, the organization charged with conducting the North Atlantic Ice patrol (NAIP) service by the United States Government. The U.S. Government is the managing nation of NAIP under the auspices of the Safety of Life at sea (SOLAS) agreement.

NOAA – Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
Ecosystems and Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigations


NOAA’s Ecosystems and Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigations research group has been utilizing the Argos Data Collection and location System continuously since 1986.

EcoFOCI’s longest time series utilizing Argos is the free-floating satellite-tracked drifters that are deployed yearly during research cruises, as part of the EcoFOCI oceanographic research effort. The drifter data for EcoFOCI are available from 1986 to present. At northern latitudes, an average of 15 positions per day are obtained from satellite-based Argos instruments, and relayed to NOAA/PMEL via ground-based telemeter stations and processing centers. EcoFOCI transforms incoming data to drifter plots and animations that show along-track motion.

EcoFOCI also utilizes Argos with the M2 surface mooring deployed May through September in the southeastern Bering Sea for the 21st consecutive year in 2015. Argos has been used with this platform since 1995. This long-term time-series is a critical tool for adapting to climate change and guiding sustainable management of living resources in the Bering Sea. Measurements are used in annual report cards and stock assessments provided to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

EcoFOCI is a highly collaborative research effort by scientists at the Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (PMEL) and Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) focusing on the unique and economically important high-latitude ecosystems of Alaska including the productive waters of the eastern Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, and most recently, the Chukchi Sea.

EcoFOCI supports associated projects, such as the Arctic Research Initiative (ARI) and the North Pacific Research Board's Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Project, which address scientific issues related to EcoFOCI's mission.

All EcoFOCI data is available to the public and can be found on their website. Please note that it does take approximately 3-6 months to quality control the data before it is made available online.

More information:

Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
Automatic Climate Observation System in Nalaikh, Mongolia


We have been promoting a drainage scale study on water cycle and cryospheric variations in Khentei Mts., northeast of Ulaanbaatar (the capital of Mongolia). The area is approximately 100 km x 100 km wide and its altitude ranges from 1200 m to 2700 m. Within this area, we have set up an automatic climate observation system (ACOS) in Nalaikh basin, which observes atmospheric components, surface radiation balance, and hydro-thermal state of permafrost. This automatic data acquisition is needed for analysis of climatic conditions in Mongolia. Therefore we would like to use the Argos System to acquire data from the ACOS, which will enable us to monitor the real time climatic conditions in Mongolia.

Elements to be observed by the ACOS are as follows:
Air temperature, Relative humidity, Wind speed, Wind direction, Precipitation, Global solar radiation, Reflective solar radiation, Downward longwave radiation (atmospheric radiation), Upward longwave radiation (surface radiation), Snow depth, Soil temperature, Soil moisture, Soil heat flux

Observation data interval: 10 minutes (Logging in the data logger)
Data transferred by Argos: 1 hour (Processing to 1 hour data set)

Cryosalon (Cryosphere System by Argos Land Observation Network) is a web portal operated by our observation network dedicated to the distribution of various observation data acquired by the Argos system for international scientific researchers.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) - Hobart
CSIRO Profiling Float Program

Inter-annual climate variability in Australia is to a large extent controlled by the pattern of sea surface temperature in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans. In the case of the El Nino phenomenon in the Pacific, the Ocean and the atmosphere interact as a two-way feedback system to produce El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The influence of the Indian Ocean on Australian and global climate is not as well documented as ENSO, yet recent studies show that Indian Ocean currents and deep thermal structure also play a role in Australian climate.

– To document and describe the oceans around Australia as a time dependent system in order to determine the mechanisms and processes underlying their variabilities, and to develop and validate ocean models with the results.
– To provide the scientific basis for designing and observing and data transmission system for operational monitoring and ocean prediction.

A global array of 3,000 profiling CTD floats, many using Argos for data transmission, has been deployed world-wide. Australia, as part of this program, has deployed and is maintaining a fleet of around 200 to 240 profiling floats in our region which represents approximately half the design density. The US provides most of the remaining floats necessary to monitor this area. This data will be used along with XBT, thermosalinograph and satellite data, to forward our understanding of the dynamics and nature of ocean variabilities in the region.
This network of floats will provide insights into global warming and climate change through its measures of Antarctic temperatures and salinities, as well as aiding in climate prediction for Australia through its measures of Indonesian through-flow and heat/salinity budgets of the eastern Indian Ocean.

For more information:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Bioacoustics Research Program


The Bioacoustics Research Program (BRP) is a unit within the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. BRP develops digital recording equipment, computer software, and algorithms that are used by scientists around the world to study animal communication and to monitor the health of wildlife populations. BRP is also pioneering new techniques for censusing and tracking wildlife with arrays of microphones placed in natural environments around the world. BRP will be using Argos/GPS devices developed by Sirtrack to allow emergency tracking of its Marine Autonomous Recording Units (MARUs).

The MARU is a device developed by the Cornell Bioacoustics Research Program to remotely make non-lossy digital recordings of underwater sounds with a minimum of resources and expenses. The MARU is physically built within a single evacuated borosilicate glass sphere. Externally, the sphere is housed within a protective plastic helmet with a hydrophone and piezo speaker mounted on its side.

The unit is deployed to depths of up to 3200m and anchored to the sea floor. The lower rigging is attached to a fusible burn cable for releasing the anchors upon receipt of an acoustic command so the device will freely float up to the surface for recovery. Occasionally the units are dragged by fishing trawlers or release prematurely from storm-related waves or surges as a result of major meteorological events. In these cases, they may float to the surface unexpectedly when BRP personnel are not present and the unit is therefore not immediately recovered. The Sirtrack Argos units are activated upon reaching the surface by way of a salt water switch. This immediately begins the Argos tracking, location, and notification process, allowing BRP to coordinate the recovery of the MARU.

For more information visit:

United States Naval Academy
Transport and Dispersion of Crab Larval Patches


Argos will be used for a faculty and midshipmen research project examining the role of biological and physical forcing on the population dynamics of the oyster. To this end, clusters of Argos-tracked surface drifters will be deployed in the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay in order to assess potential dispersion and aggregation of zooplankton patches.

The data will be analyzed by students at the Naval Academy and presented at scientific meetings and as senior capstone research projects. In addition, the drifting PTTs assigned to the program may be used as a part of the laboratory component of the biological oceanography course at the Naval Academy.

Midshipmen will have the opportunity to find and track drifters in the field and plot the resulting trajectories. Bio-physical application of drifting buoy data will be discussed in a complementary lecture.

For more information visit USNA Oceanography Department

University of São Paulo
Impact of Southwestern Atlantic Ocean on South American Climate


The main objective of this research project is to understand the South American climate variability in the present day with atmospheric and oceanographic observational data analysis and analyze future climate scenarios using data from Global Circulation Models and dynamical downscaling simulations through Regional Climate Models (RCMs).

This proposal is relevant because it will contribute to a better understanding of the climate variability over South America especially that linked to the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean (SAO). Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding natural versus anthropogenic-induced variations of the SAO, which is of utmost importance to provide accurate projections of climate change.

Both the modeling and observational components of the project are of equal relevance to understanding the problem of climate variability over South America. To understand the contribution of anthropogenic-induced relative to natural variability in the SAO and to use models to provide a 4-dimensional depiction of the oceanic circulation, and to understand the interactions between the atmosphere and ocean, and the resultant influence on the South American climate.

However, one of the impediments to improving models' performance is a lack of observations with which to judge their veracity. An accurate picture of the present day oceanic circulation would be an immensely valuable asset. Therefore, this project also contains an observational component, part of which will be the deployment of an array of buoys in the SAO to monitor the ocean-atmosphere interface. In parallel, surface properties will be monitored via satellite and compared to in-situ observations, and historical data will be analyzed.

Specific Goals

  • To understand whether the intensity of precipitation, persistence and circulation of SACZ and South America Monsoon will change due to global warming.
  • Assessment of possible alterations driven by distinct climate change scenarios in the precipitation regime associated with frontal systems and atmospheric blocking over southeastern Brazil.
  • Analyze the impact of SST anomalies in the climatology and variability of the cyclones that developed in the SAO and how it will change in future global warming scenarios.
  • To explore the possible role of multi-scale resonances in generating low-frequency fluctuations in the atmosphere-ocean system.
  • Study how the regional to local ocean behavior change in a changing climate
  • The deployment of an observational array Buoy in the South Brazil Bight (SBB) and an associated in situ observational program. The observational component will have: Current and Hydrographic Measurements; Biological / Bio-Optical Component; Bottom Sediments/Benthos; Coastal Zone (Surface waves and Tides) and Numerical Modeling.

This specific application with the use of Argos data transmission is for the wave rider buoy (Datawell) to be deployed off the coast of São Paulo, Brazil.

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Kyushu University – Fukuoka
Demonstration on Floating Wind Turbine


This program is for demonstration on floating wind turbine.

Floating wind turbines are expected to be highly effective for CO2 Emission Reduction.

In this program, the cost reduction of mooring system for floating wind turbine is focused.

In order to reduce the cost of mooring system, (1) suction anchors, (2) synthetic fiber ropes, (3) assessment of mooring chain wears, and (4) development of design guidelines for (1)-(3) are investigated at the demonstration site, offshore of Kabashima, Nagasaki prefecture, Japan.

In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of (1)-(4), a small-scale floating system of spar-type will be deployed at the demonstration site, offshore of Kabashima.

It is essential to monitor the dynamic behavior of the floating system as well as the incident wave to the floating system. The wave will be measured using a directional Waverider (DWR-G), where the Argos system is used for data acquisition from the Waverider.

For success of this program, the utilization of the Argos system is essential.

For more information visit:

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Survival, Mortality Sources, Natal Dispersal, Resource Selection, and Ranging of Golden Eagles from the Southern Rockies/Colorado Plateau Region, US


Protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Golden Eagles are increasingly threatened on multiple fronts (e.g., collisions with wind turbines, electrocution on powerlines, lead poisoning), and the scale of several major threats is increasing. A U.S. regulation was promulgated in 2009 that authorized take of the eagle under permit in certain circumstances, yet many key facets of Golden Eagle ecology needed to base such decisions were poorly understood. In 2010 we launched the first of several comprehensive regional studies, employing satellite telemetry, to help address major information gaps.

Objectives of our study are to:

  1. determine age-specific survival rates
  2. identify relative importance of various causes of mortality
  3. document natal dispersal distance and behavior
  4. track seasonal movement and inter-population mixing
  5. document seasonal resource selection and validate predictive occurrence models
  6. identify areas of high importance to the species, e.g., winter concentrations
  7. describe behavior and movement of unsuccessful territorial adults and floaters

During 2010-2014, we fitted PTTs on 83 nestling Golden Eagles in the Four Corners Region of the southwestern U.S.; 5 of these already reached adult age (5+ years) in 2015. More than 500,000 GPS locations have been collected. Some important findings to date include: 1) 33 migrations by 18 sub-adult eagles to and from summer ranges 400-1200 km north, the first such behavior documented for the species in North America; 2) first-year dispersal characterized primarily by settling 50-120 km from natal areas and high mortality among eagles dispersing >500 km; 3) strong ties between first-year settling location and home range location in subsequent pre-breeding years; 4) starvation/disease during early dispersal and electrocution and collision with power lines as leading mortality factors; 5) substantial widespread, year-round use of prairie dog colonies; and 6) documentation of sub-adult breeding and related behavioral patterns in previous years.

Data from the study are contributing to current meta-analyses of Golden Eagle movement and demography in western North America and for key decision support to manage the species. Data currently are being analyzed and submitted for publication.

For more information visit:


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Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
Automatic Weather System - Palau


The objective of our program is to understand the tropical climate variability over the Western North Pacific. In the tropical Pacific & Indian Oceans, unique & obvious atmosphere-ocean coupled phenomena with various timescale are observed. In particular, the El Nino, the Indian Ocean dipole mode phenomenon, the monsoons, & the Madden-Julian Oscillation - the major tropical ocean/atmosphere variations - are all mutually interrelated, & have great impact on global weather & short term climate change, hence affect human life & economic activities. This program studies these phenomena & their interactions & contributes to the improvement of their predictability. Specifically, the program aims to reveal the mechanisms of fluctuation in El Nino & the dipole mode phenomenon based on an observation network of moored buoys. In the Western Pacific & Indian Ocean, including the Indonesian & Indochina regions, the program aims to construct high-precision observation networks of the ocean, atmosphere & land, and to reveal the water cycling mechanism related to the monsoons, from diurnal to annual variability, as well as the mechanism of the Madden-Julian oscillation & its effects. We will install an automatic weather system in Peleliu Island of the Republic of Palau, measure the meteorological data & utilize the Argos communication tool to capture the recent change of monsoon & typhoon systems in the tropical region.

For more information visit:

Hadal Inc.
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) Development


The purpose of this program is to develop Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) for mapping the sea floor, including the areas beneath the National Data Buoy Center’s tsunami buoys and the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The objectives of this endeavor include:

      Sonar imagery of the seabed in deep water.
      Mapping the seafloor surrounding the NOAA NDBC DART Buoy System.
      Mapping the seafloor in marine protected areas and national marine sanctuaries (like the Gulf of the Farallones).
      Environmental data gathering (salinity, temperature, pressure).
      Publishing and sharing of the data sets.

NOAA and Hadal are working closely together on AUV testing and use of data from the Hadal AUVs to support the National Marine Sanctuary Office and the Ocean Exploration and Research Program.

For more information, visit:

Environment Canada
Marine Boundary Layer / Automated Environmental System


This program utilizes buoys strategically situated off the West Coast of Canada to collect meteorological information. Data are used to provide timely weather forecasts to the marine community as well as the general public.

Weather: general tools and resources

Corporation Slavtek
Scientific Expedition: “Landing North”


During the "Landing North” expedition, participants will visit the most northern villages of Siberia. The entire route of the expedition is about 7,000 km. The participants will implement new equipment testing for several Institutes of the Academy of Sciences of Russia which will be used for future expeditions and research programs. An Argos beacon will be used for tracking the expedition along its journey.

Prince William Sound Science Center
Prince William Sound Oceanography


Alaska's Prince William Sound (PWS) includes over 6,000 km of shoreline and contains an extensive system of tidewater glaciers descending from the highest coastal mountain range in North America. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline carries oil to the Port of Valdez in northern PWS. The oil is then shipped to southern refineries on large tankers, making the environment of PWS highly vulnerable to oil spills, as evidenced by the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. The Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) and its partner organizations conduct research in PWS to enable detection and prediction of oil-spill related impacts and subsequent recovery. This mission led to the development of a PWS ocean circulation model coupled to a regional atmospheric circulation model. These early efforts resulted in a much better understanding of PWS but more information was needed to resolve smaller scales of time and space. The modeling program has now been integrated with the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) to take better advantage of real-time data streams from satellites, weather stations, and an enhanced observational oceanography program consisting of moored buoys and seasonal hydrographic surveys.

The observing system in PWS observing has two primary goals. The first goal is to provide physical and biological information to the major user groups in PWS including the coastal communities, oil and gas transportation industry (tanker traffic and oil spill response), air taxis, commercial fishermen, recreational and commercial boaters, and Coast Guard search and rescue operations. For example, the high-resolution wind, wave and ocean current forecast products will provide improved weather forecasts to commercial and recreational vessel and aircraft operators, as well as enhance the safety of oil tanker traffic in PWS. The improved physical and ecological forecasting products will enable resource programs and managers to make better management decisions on food supply, predation, and human activities such as commercial, recreational and subsistence fishing.

The second goal is to combine long-term monitoring with short-term hypothesis-driven process studies to understand mechanisms underlying the dynamics of the interactions between the major coastal currents and the production of flora and fauna of the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Alaska, and PWS. Of particular interest is the understanding of predominant mechanisms of ecological variability. Understanding the circulation patterns and dynamics of water exchange will provide a solid scientific foundation for addressing fisheries management and ecosystem needs related to long term oceanic and climatic variability.

The Prince William Sound Science Center (PWSSC) provides the expertise and personnel to support the long-term mooring program collecting currents with Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers, conductivity (salinity) and temperature data at various sites in PWS. PWSSC is leading the effort for the field experiment in support of the model validation that will include surface ARGOS drifters.

University of South Florida
Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMPS)


In order to mitigate and reduce the consequences of natural and man-made disasters, the University of South Florida has developed a Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMPS) for West Florida.

The system provides detailed information on coastal ocean physical conditions and warnings of coastal flooding by storm surge. The modular system has a real-time oceanographic data network. The real-time data include coastal, offshore and remote sensing data.

This observing system fulfills all of the requirements of the Coastal Module of the Global Ocean Observing System (CMGOOS). Data are supplied into a three-dimensional coastal ocean circulation model for assimilation of the whole coastal ocean and for now-casts and forecasts. The numerical model also includes surface particle Lagrangian tracking, which can trace surface water movement in event of red tide outbreak or oil spills over the coastal ocean.

Observed data and model products are directly disseminated in real-time to federal, state, and local emergency management officials via intranet and to the public via the Internet. The combined observing-modeling system also provides a robust infrastructure to support scientific studies of the coastal ocean environment, complementing federally funded programs such as ECOHAB (Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms). The Ocean Circulation Group also plays an active role in the Southeast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System (SEACOOS).

British Antarctic Survey
Polar Oceans Gliders


This goal of this project is to operate Webb Slocum oceanographic glider(s) in the waters of the Southern Ocean, specifically adjacent to the western Antarctic Peninsula. This is one of the most rapidly changing regions in the world, with very strong atmospheric warming, significant ice retreat, and marked changes in ocean temperature, salinity & biogeochemical properties. It is also one of the most difficult regions in the world from which to gather long-term coherent datasets, due to its remoteness and the harshness of conditions.

Remote in situ technology has a strong role in developing the science of this area, since ship operations here are strongly limited by season, and satellite measurements are often confounded by the frequent cloud cover. Our project is to procure and deploy one or more Slocum gliders from the British Antarctic Survey research station at Rothera, on Adelaide Island adjacent to the western Peninsula. This is a year-round manned station, and we conduct weekly oceanographic measurements from here already, however these measurements are constrained to a near-shore location, and whilst they offer an excellent temporal resolution, there is no significant spatial coverage. The Slocum glider(s) will add this spatial coverage, by flying surveys around the broader region of Rothera, collecting data on temperature, salinity and chlorophyll concentrations across the western peninsula shelf.

The work is fully funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council, via funds provided to British Antarctic Survey. The project also has strong links with the Palmer Long-Term Ecological research (LTER) programme, which operates the same glider technology during its annual research cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula, and from its base at Palmer Station, farther north along the Peninsula from Rothera. We have very close links with Palmer LTER, and will operate our glider(s) in a synergistic way with theirs, so as to maximize the scientific gain.

For more information visit British Antarctic Survey

Hokkaido University – Sapporo
Cross Gyre Flow Experiment


Recent studies (one historical observational data analyses research & another numerical simulations research) have suggested that there might be northward transport of warm & saline water from the Subtropical gyre to the Subarctic gyre of the North Pacific at the sea surface & subsurface layers

One of the pathways of the cross gyre flow might be "Isoguchi Jets." Studies suggest that the cross gyre flows would play an important role in determining the overturning circulation in the North Pacific Ocean that connects the surface & the intermediate layers via ventilation in the Sea of Okhotsk. There is however little direct & real time observations to detect these cross gyre flows.

We would like to execute direct observations using Argos sea surface drifter buoys to clarify the existence of the cross gyre pathway.

The observation (Argos drifter buoy deployment) plan is as follows:

  1. Deployment time: Late August 2014.
  2. Deployment region: Boundary region between the Northwestern Subtropical gyre & the Subarctic gyre.
  3. Deployment cruise: R/V Wakataka-maru (Tohoku National Fisheries Research Institute, Fisheries Research Agency, Japan) WK1408 Cruise.
  4. Methods:
    1. Detecting the Isoguchi Jets using the near real time remote sensing (satellite) data (e.g., sea surface temperature, sea surface height anomaly, ocean color, etc.) & the real time observed data (e.g., shipboard acoustic Doppler current profiler, etc.), acquired by R/V Wakataka-maru.
    2. Deployment of Argos sea surface drifting buoys after finding the jet.
    3. Monitoring the trajectories of buoys for more than a year to identify where, when & how many & how long buoys flow northward & enter the Northwestern Subarctic gyre.

More information >>>

CorpTsukuba University – Center for Research in Isotopes & Environmental Dynamics (CRIED)oration


The program, Hydro-4M, "Hydro-Meteorological studies with Multi-satellite sensors and Multidimensional approaches at Mongolian Grassland," aims to obtain better understandings of hydrometeorology of grassland in northeastern Asia by using satellite remote sensing, land-surface models, and land data assimilation.

In order to obtain necessary data for this goal, 6 automatic weather stations (AWS) and 12 automatic soil moisture & temperature measurement systems are placed in Mongolian grassland. The data obtained at these AWS are used to validate and calibrate satellite soil moisture products such as that of AMSR2 (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2) on board GCOM-W (Global Change Observation Mission-Water) and L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar on board of ALOS2 (Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2), and also to force land surface models to predict land surface state of the Mongolian grassland.

The project Hydro-4M is led by Dr. Jun Asanuma at Center for Research in Isotopes and Environmental Dynamics, University of Tsukuba, Japan, and funded by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Japan Science Promotion Society (JSPS).

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RPS MetOcean Pty Ltd
Meteorological and Oceanographic Measurement Services


MetOcean Engineers provide meteorological and oceanographic measurement services to government departments, ports & harbors, and oil & gas companies.

Government departments include the following organizations:

  • Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)
  • West Australian Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI)
  • Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA)
  • West Australian Water Authority
  • West Australian Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)
  • West Australian Department of Fisheries
  • University of Western Australia
  • Murdoch University, West Australia
  • Curtin University of Technology, West Australia
  • Local Shire Councils, West Australia
  • Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM)
  • Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
  • Australian Oceanographic Data Centre (AODC)
  • Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
  • Antarctic Survey Division
  • Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
  • Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN)
  • Malaysian Meteorological Service (MMS)

The Argos service fulfils three important roles when undertaking measurement programs for the above organizations:

  1. Transmission and dissemination of environmental data from oceanographic and meteorological instruments deployed in remote land and ocean-based locations.
  2. Protection and alarm warning of surface and subsurface instrumentation in the event of mooring or equipment failure, cyclone damage, fishing interference, collision with passing vessels, vandalism and/or theft.
  3. Tracking of drifting buoys, e.g., oil spill drifters and particle dispersion studies for local Water Authorities.

A prime example of the above would be the dissemination of met-ocean data to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) from various locations around the WA North West Shelf and other regions in Australia. There is a severe dearth of real time met-ocean data in the Southern Ocean which makes offshore weather forecasting difficult compared to other areas of the world.

Data are transmitted to the BOM on a routine basis to improve reliability of their weather forecasting and tropical cyclone warning service, primarily for safety of offshore shipping and remote coastal towns and villages. Metocean data buoys are deployed by WNI at selected sites, each carrying Argos PTTs to provide data backup and position monitoring. The latter service is important as it allows the prompt recapture and redeployment of expensive buoys in the event of b) above and hence minimizes any subsequent disruption to the data dissemination process.

Some of these buoys provide measurements all year round whilst others are deployed only during the tropical cyclone season.

Tuna Research and Conservation Center (TRCC)
Tagging of Pelagic Predators – Tunas, Sharks and Billfish


The Tagging of Pelagic Predators (TOPP) research program began as a collaboration among more than 75 scientists from 5 different countries aimed at understanding the migration patterns of large open-ocean animals in the North Pacific Basin. As one of the field programs of the global Census of Marine Life, TOPP successfully deployed over 4,600 electronic tags on 23 species of pelagic predators including whales, seals, sea birds, sharks, turtles and even squid – amassing a dataset of more than 365,000 days of animal tracking data during the decade-long Census. This research produced over 200 peer-reviewed papers, culminating in a Nature paper entitled: Tracking Apex Marine Predator Movements in a Dynamic Ocean (Block et. al., 2011).

Starting in 2009, the TRCC partnered with the International Game Fish Association to develop a collaboration between scientists and billfish tournament anglers. The “IGFA Great Marlin Race” has now deployed 188 pop-up satellite tags on blue, black, white and striped marlin and sailfish, with a growing dataset of over 10,000 days of tracking data. The findings from this study were presented in Congress to help establish the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012.

Since its beginning in 1994, the TRCC has carried out extensive research on Atlantic bluefin tuna, having deployed more than 1,200 electronic tags in North Carolina, Massachusetts and Nova Scotia. The data from these studies were used to help inform the recent management actions to protect the western stock of Atlantic bluefin on their breeding grounds in the Gulf of Mexico, and are providing insights into the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Useful websites:

Nihon University – Setagaya-Ku, Department of Geography
Angkor Weather Monitoring


The tropical climatic environment affects considerably the deterioration of building stone such as the sandstone and laterite composing the Angkor monuments, Cambodia of UNESCO World heritage site. In particular, slaking of stones due to repeated wetting and drying, and the exposure of stones due to clearing of vegetation, may accelerate their deterioration.

In order to preserve the monuments, the deterioration process of the building stone should be elucidated based on detailed meteorological and geotechnical data. However, there is little observation data at the Angkor monuments. In addition, domestic observation stations of Cambodia do not function very well. Therefore, it is difficult to analyze the local climatic environment and effects on stone deterioration from the data at existing observatories. Accordingly, to accumulate meteorological data in the Angkor monuments, we installed an automated meteorological observation station in the precincts of the Angkor Wat temple (Waragai et al., 2013). Read the report

In the Angkor weather monitoring program using Argos data collection system, we observe meteorological data such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, insolation, wind direction, and wind speed, regularly. These data can be connected to the other micro-meteorological data such as temperatures in the building and forest area. We have already pointed out issues of the clearing of vegetation that causes the monument heating and stone decay.

The program will contribute to preservation and conservation projects conducted by a variety of governments and organizations which is progressing under UNESCO and APSARA National authority, Cambodia. In addition, the program is useful to watch environmental change of the temple due to the impact of recent tourism and economic development.


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Self-Locating Datum Marker Buoys


United States Coast Guard


Self-Locating Datum Marker Buoys (SLDMBs) are oceanographic surface drifting buoys that are ship or air deployable. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) deploys approximately 500-600 SLDMBs annually for its Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. Service Argos receives and stores SLDMB data which is collected via web services by the SLDMB system. SLDMB positional data is used to estimate the movement of a search object within a search area. Historical data is stored and can be used to determine ocean currents.

The SLDMB data is used for SAR planning, and other missions like law enforcement, Marine safety, and environmental protection such as the response to the Deepwater Horizon incident. The data is also used for oceanographic scientific research into ocean current trends, as well as to validate ocean current forecast models.

Major NOAA/NMFS Wildlife Monitoring Programs:
Polar Seals; Marine Turtles; Marine Mammal Program;
Billfish, Swordfish, Tuna, and Turtle Tagging Program; and
Antarctic Marine Living Resources Predator Ecology



Polar Seals
The Polar Ecosystems Program of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center studies the movements, locations, and behaviors of free-ranging seals in high-latitude oceans. The results are fundamental for determining habitat requirements, estimating population abundance, and projecting the impacts of climate disruption on these ice-associated species. Small, low-power transmitters are combined with data-logging tags to provide locations and summary descriptions of diving and haul-out behavior through the Argos system. The program’s statisticians are using the Argos data to advance the theory and application of animal movement and resource selection models. Because some of the species, such as bearded, ringed, and spotted seals, are important traditional resources for Alaska Native communities, much of the work, especially field deployment of tags on seals, is conducted in collaboration with local hunters who are expert, life-long observers of these sea mammals.

Marine Turtles
To track the ocean movements of sea turtles to determine routes of travel and end-point foraging areas, and to track the movements of pelagic turtles in development habitats in relation to oceanographic characteristics. These objectives are directly related to our agency's strategic goal to "recover protected species" of sea turtles.

Marine Mammal Program
Argos transmitters will be deployed on marine mammals to meet the mission goals of NOAA Fisheries in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and other regions it has collaborators. These objectives include improving data on various marine mammal stock assessments and habitat use patterns.

Billfish, Swordfish, Tuna, and Turtle Tagging Program
The objectives of this program are to monitor the habitat use and post release fate of the target species. This information provides insights into essential fish habitat and post-release survival of these animals for purposes of rebuilding depleted stocks, reducing the uncertainties of stock assessments, and improving the biological basis for management.

Antarctic Marine Living Resources Predator Ecology
Pinniped research to be conducted consists of land-based studies in the region of the Antarctic Peninsula. Studies encompassing census surveys, attendance, energetics, foraging, and long term monitoring (tagging) of Antarctic fur seals will be completed at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island (including the San Telmo Islands) by the AMLR Program. Studies focus on investigating factors that influence the population dynamics of these animals, especially feeding ecology, reproductive success, growth and condition, demography, and abundance. Energetic costs and benefits of different foraging patterns can be determined by simultaneous measurements of energy expenditure, food intake, dive depth, duration, time of day and dive frequency, swim speed, and foraging location (via satellite transmitter). These data will be integrated with prey data collected simultaneously from the ship-based prey program.

Memorial University of Newfoundland
Canadian Center for Ocean Gliders


The overall objective of this project is to collect oceanographic data using Slocum gliders.

The gliders will be deployed in the coastal waters of Canada.

Specific objectives:

  1. Collect oceanographic data for assimilation into ocean models and for ocean prediction verification.
  2. Provide real-time or near real-time access to ocean measurements.
  3. Facilitate sensor development and integration for additional parameters, such as dissolved oxygen.

National Data Buoy Center
Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) Array


The TAO/TRITON Array, consisting of nearly 70 moored buoys spanning the equatorial Pacific, measures oceanographic and surface meteorological variables critical for improved detection, understanding and prediction of seasonal-to-interannual climate variations originating in the tropics, most notably those related to the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). TAO/TRITON is a component of the Global Tropical Moored Buoy Array which is a multi-national effort to provide data in real-time for climate research and forecasting. Support for the TAO/TRITON array is provided by the United States (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and Japan (Japan Agency for Marine-earth Science and TEChnology)

The TAO/TRITON array provides climate researchers, weather prediction centers, and scientists around the world with real-time data from the tropical Pacific. El Nino (the warm phase of the ENSO cycle) is associated with a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific, which has important consequences for weather around the globe. Though originating in the tropical Pacific, ENSO has socio-economic consequences that are felt on a global scale. The ability to predict warm and cold ENSO events allows better global management of agriculture, water supplies, fisheries, and other resources.

Global Tropical Moored Buoy Array

Malaga University – Department of Applied Physics
Water Exchanges through the Strait of Gibraltar


Long-term monitoring of currents in the water column at Spartel Section (a North-South section at approximately 5deg 55 min W) to obtain direct estimates of the inflow and outflow rates of water through the Strait of Gibraltar, and different magnitudes derived from them.

The technical objective is to set up monitoring stations in the Strait of Gibraltar to estimate the Mediterranean Outflow accurately (ADCP-based observations) and the Atlantic Inflow into the Mediterranean Sea with the help of indirect estimators and incomplete current-meter data sets.

Long-term monitoring of the exchange is important for studies of climatic variability and trends because of the suspected role the Mediterranean outflow plays in the deep water formation in the North Atlantic and, hence, in the Meridional Overturning Circulation.

It is also a suitable tool to assess the climatic impact in the Mediterranean Sea, since the Strait is a privileged monitoring place to observe changes and trends in this basin. The data collected within the project will allow for investigating other relevant issues about flow exchange through the Strait of Gibraltar.

More local (but not less relevant) scientific issues addressed in the project are related to the internal hydraulics of the Strait. It is known that hydraulic control in the main sill of Camarinal is lost with tidal periodicity. Espartel sill appears to be a permanent control. The verification of this hypothesis is important from a practical point of view to design monitoring strategies. The outflow response to meteorological forcing and whether or not this forcing is able to interrupt it, the study of the fortnightly tidal signal that has great influence on the exchange at subinertial frequencies are other issues of concern addressed by the project.

University of California – San Diego
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory


A series of deep-water acoustic propagation experiments combining low-frequency, broadband sources with vertical and horizontal receiving arrays have been conducted in the North Pacific Ocean over the last two decades in what is loosely referred to as the North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory (NPAL) program.

The research has been focused on improving our understanding of the propagation of sound in the ocean, including the effects of scattering from small-scale oceanographic variability, on the application of acoustic remote sensing techniques to the study of large-scale ocean structure, and on determining the structure & variability of the ambient noise field.

This series of experiments is continuing, with the next experiment scheduled for June-July 2013.

This experiment, referred to as the Ocean Bottom Seismometer Augmentation in the North Pacific (OBSANP), is intended to better define the characteristics of a new class of acoustic arrivals that was first observed on ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs) during the 2004 NPAL experiment in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, including the conditions under which the arrivals are excited & propagate.

These arrivals, called Deep Seafloor Arrivals (DSFAs), have significant implications for predictions of long-& short-range acoustic propagation & for models of near-seafloor ambient noise in the deep ocean.

Cobscook Bay Resource Center


This project consists of a field drifter study of circulation patterns in the combined Passamaquoddy/Cobscook Bay ecosystem located in eastern Maine, USA.

This area is a highly dynamic marine environment vulnerable to marine oil spills. Our drifter study provides field data for a 3D circulation model of the combined Passamaquoddy & Cobscook Bay system developed by Dr. Huijie Xue, a researcher at the University of Maine at Orono.

Drifter data is also used to inform planning for other industries and projects in the area including aquaculture siting, disease transmission, and tidal power.

We own five Seimac C-AST drifters with Argos and GPS capability that we use to track surface currents. The drifter design consists of an electronics module housed within a floating barrel. Telemetry and positioning are provided by Argos using Seimac Smart Cat PTTs as well as GPS.

Using the Seimac C-AST drifters allows us to coordinate data collection and data analysis with Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans staff since the same type of equipment is used by DFO staff during their drift studies in Passamaquoddy Bay.

Drifters are released from a pre-determined site in a cluster of five at the beginning of a tide stage. If the clustered drifters do not disperse, subsequent releases from that site are staggered. In other words, a single drifter is released from the site during each hour of a 6 hour tide stage.

Drift trials are short term, consisting of a half tide cycle or approximately six hours. The short duration of drift trials was chosen to reduce the likelihood of retrieval of drifters from offshore waters, which would require larger boats and increased staff time. Also, anything left in the water for longer than six hours tends to run aground in this near-shore area.

Argos capability is necessary in the drifters in order to more effectively retrieve drifters with which we have lost visual contact. We use a Gonio 400 Argos Direction Finder to determine bearings and retrieve drifters.

More information about Cobscook Bay >>>

University of Western Australia
Ocean Response to Tropical Cyclones


Tropical cyclones (TC) are a dominant physical forcing feature during the summer months on the Australian North West Shelf (NWS). This project, funded by an ARC linkage grant with Woodside Energy Limited, aims at using field observations to develop & test a numerical ocean model that can accurately predict the ocean response to tropical cyclone forcing on the Australian NWS. Specifically, the objectives of the proposal are to:

  1. Characterise the spatial and temporal variability of the ocean response to tropical cyclones from detailed field observations.
  2. Use historical field data and new dedicated measurements to develop and test a cyclonically forced three-dimensional ocean model of the NWS.
  3. Evaluate both the internal ocean response and the surface wave field response under cyclone forcing. The internal response will include elucidating the vertical and horizontal mixing, and the currents generated over the entire water column by the wind and waves, particularly assessing the near-bottom currents.
  4. Apply the numerical model to predict the ocean behaviour under extreme tropical cyclone scenarios.

Overall this will lead to a step-change in industry response to the hazards imposed by tropical cyclones.

The field experiment conducted in the cyclone season 2013-2014 will consist of two subsurface water column moorings (measuring currents & density stratification), in depth of 90 and 370m, off the coast of Karratha. The instrument arrays will enable the measurement of both mean & turbulent properties, including the intensity of turbulent stirring and the baroclinic & barotropic energy fluxes. The vertical density structure at each station will be measured using thermistors (Seabird Electronics SBE39) distributed at 10m intervals along anchored mooring lines suspended by a sub-surface buoy. Through water column vertical current profiles will be measured with RD instruments acoustic Doppler current profilers. Acoustic Doppler velocimeters (ADV, Nortek Vector) will be positioned at depths of 40m and 75m to measure turbulence quantities. To capture the TC influence on the density structure at a higher spatial resolution, we will locate three additional thermistor strings, each with thermistors distributed vertically at 10m intervals. Five Sercel Argos beacons are expected to help with the recovery of the five moorings.

More information >>>

Joint North Pacific Research Center (WHOI / JAMSTEC)
North Pacific Time-Series Research


The Joint North Pacific Research Center, J-Pac, at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Mutsu Institute for Oceanography, Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC), are engaged in a collaborative effort to strengthen Mutsu Institute for Oceanography (MIO), established on October 15, 2000, into an ocean research institute emphasizing observational oceanography.

Of particular interest is an ambitious and innovative basin-scale program entitled: "The Global Biogeochemical Cycle Study in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean" which began in the autumn of 2000. The success of this program depends critically upon the long-term, time-series oceanographic observations of the decadal signals of variability and cyclicity in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean.

Under this program, MIO/J-Pac will deploy and maintain several highly advanced, autonomous water laboratories with state-of-the art time-series ocean instruments. These ocean stations will be strategically distributed in the Northwestern Pacific from R/V Mirai.


  1. To build models of the North Pacific Ocean including better delineation of the front systems by utilizing already available hydrographic, ocean dynamics, transient tracer and biogeochemical data seta and satellite imagery.
  2. Biannual transects cruise by R/V Mirai essentially connecting several mooring stations.
  3. A seamless, continuous observation of water columns (abyssal bottom layer to 30m from the surface) by autonomous moored profilers at several stations recording CTD and 3-D current.
  4. Several times-series, mooring stations in the North Pacific that represent oceanic zones and critical water mass characteristics. Observational criteria include the high-resolution time-series observation/collection (100 samplings/year) of the primary production (by SIDs).
  5. Routine and recurrent deployment of CTD, ADCP onboard R/V Mirai.

Oceanography Center of Cyprus
MyOcean Continuation of MERSEA

(Marine Environment and Security for the European Area)



  1. Demonstrate benefits of MyOcean forecasting and downscaling products for oil spill fate forecasting through multi-model and multi-forcing comparisons and through validation against oil-emulating surface drifter data.
  2. Collect autonomous underwater glider data operationally year round.

The Mediterranean Sea is heavily trafficked and both illicit and accidental spills are a problem. The sea currents in the Mediterranean are a challenge to forecast, due to high variability and small tides. Thanks to the MyOcean program (continuation of MERSEA), daily regional and downscaled flow forecasts are provided useful information to a number of downstream applications for support of marine safety, particularly in oil spills and floating objects predictions. Within the frame of the ongoing implementation of the Mediterranean decision support system for marine safety, several well established oil spill models with differing concepts, together with all available MyOcean downscaled ocean forcing data sets, facilitate a small ensemble of forecasts. This drifter experiment provides a valuable opportunity for validating the various oil spill models and forcing configurations. OC-UCY has well established ties to key users at regional and local scales regarding the marine safety. Glider experiments support OC-UCY ocean forecasting (and so also oil spill modeling) of OC-UCY using data assimilation.

Deploy surface drifters to emulate a surface oil spill in the Eastern Mediterranean Levantine Basin. Perform oil spill simulations to forecast the fate of the oil spill, following warnings from the response agencies as well the EMSA CNS satellite images detecting possible oil spills. Each MEDESS4MS oil spill modeling provider will supply oil spill forecast data and/or graphical results to the NDR for use by the UI. The forecast results will be analyzed also against the observed drifter tracks. Deploy gliders equipped with Argos transmitters (for emergency location) in order to improve forecast skill. Results of model analysis can be used in oil spill predictions and compared to results when glider data are not assimilated.

OC-UCY: Lead agency; gliders and drifter deployment; liaison with users; forecast service provider; report coordination of drifter data; oil drift forecasts from MEDSLIK, based on MYOCEAN regional (MFS) and nested CYCOFOS; SKIRON wind data.


  • Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC): Provide information about the type of oil transported in the Eastern Mediterranean
  • Cyprus Departments of Fisheries and Commercial Shipping: Provide information about the type of oil transported in Cyprus EZZ and sensitive coastal areas from up-loading operations and from offshore platforms related to the maritime transport and the oil and gas industry in the Levantine Basin.

Inter-comparison of MEDSLIK multiple floating objects trajectory bredictions using SVP type drifter in the Eastern Mediterranean Levantine Basin

North Carolina State University
Coastal Glider Program


We will be deploying a coastal glider to measure shelf water temperature and salinity fields off the North Carolina coast. We utilize the Webb Research's Slocum Glider, which is an autonomous vehicle that can operate unattended for roughly a month-long period in the coastal ocean. Surveys of Temperature and Salinity fields are required to quantify the vertical structure of the coastal ocean mass field. The benefits of these measurements are spatially dense observations of shelf hydrography, a fundamental property of the physical state of the ocean. Structure of the mass field plays a defining role in cross-shelf exchange, vertical structure of the ocean boundary layers, and vertical exchange. Realistic models of coastal ocean circulation require knowledge of its structure and variability. While at sea our onshore team will monitor and direct glider trajectories using two-way communications. The communications permit near real-time delivery of observations and re-direction of mission/adaptative sampling. Given a forward horizontal speed of 0.25-0.35 m/s, the glider can cover 20-30 km per day, depending on environmental conditions.

For more information, visit Ocean Observing and Modeling Group (OOMG).

University of Maryland – Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region (CINAR) Hurricane Project


The project will initiate activity along a proven transition path, where CINAR supports rapid-response research that can enhance the US IOOS, and US IOOS supports sustained real-time observations & ensemble forecasts that can enhance the operational capabilities of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

This program will leverage the extensive observation & modeling capabilities of CINAR partners, as well as the US IOOS MARACOOS & NERACOOS regions, the OOI Pioneer Array & the SURA Modeling Testbed, augmenting them with two process-study activities.

CINAR will:

  1. Deploy a rapid response autonomous sampling array that includes:
    1. Four gliders deployed on cross shelf transects
    2. Fourteen low cost, "portable" buoys with wind, wave, atmospheric pressure sensors & depth sounders in an alongshore array at key areas where storm surge causes the most flooding & damage on the northeast Atlantic coast, and
    3. Forty miniature, expendable rapid profiling floats to be deployed from aircraft in the slope sea just beyond the shelf break (10 per storm);

  2. Use an ensemble of regional ocean models to: (a) assimilate real-time data to define the initial temperature structure, evaluate ocean model sensitivities, and refine the ensemble weighting for accurate specification of vertical mixing, upper layer heat content, and air-sea fluxes over the shelf & nearby slope sea, and (b) to model storm surges & coastal inundation for the continental shelf & adjacent estuaries, with high-resolution inundation simulations & graphic visualizations in local regions of high strategic interest such as Washington DC, New York City and Boston.


  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Low Density Supersonic Decelerator

As NASA plans ambitious new robotic missions to Mars, laying the groundwork for even more complex human science expeditions to come, the spacecraft needed to land safely on the red planet's surface necessarily becomes increasingly massive, hauling larger payloads to accommodate extended stays on the Martian surface. NASA has used its current, parachute- based deceleration system since the Viking Program, which put two landers on Mars in 1977. New technology is needed to slow larger, heavier landers from the supersonic speeds of atmospheric entry to subsonic ground-approach speeds. NASA seeks to use atmospheric drag as a solution, saving rocket engines and fuel for final maneuvers and landing procedures. The heavier planetary landers of tomorrow, however, will require much larger drag devices than any now in use to slow them down -- and those next-generation drag devices will need to be deployed at higher supersonic speeds to safely land vehicle, crew and cargo. NASA's Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) Technology Demonstration Mission, led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will conduct full-scale, stratospheric tests of these breakthrough technologies high above Earth to prove their value for future missions to Mars. Three devices will be developed. The first two are supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerators -- very large, durable, balloon-like pressure vessels that inflate around the entry vehicle and slow it from Mach 3.5 or greater to Mach 2. These decelerators are being developed in 6-meter-diameter and 9-meter-diameter configurations. Also in development is a 30-meter- diameter parachute that will further slow the entry vehicle from Mach 2 to subsonic speeds. All three devices will be the largest of their kind ever flown at speeds several times greater than the speed of sound. Together, these new drag devices can increase payload delivery to the surface of Mars from our current capability of 1.5 metric tons to 2 to 3 metric tons, depending on which inflatable decelerator is used in combination with the parachute. They will increase available landing altitudes by 2-3 kilometers, increasing the accessible surface area we can explore. They also will improve landing accuracy from a margin of 10 kilometers to just 3 kilometers. All these factors will increase the capabilities and robustness of robotic and human explorers on Mars.

To thoroughly test the system, the LDSD team will fly the drag devices several times -- at full scale and at supersonic speeds -- high in Earth’s stratosphere, simulating entry into the atmosphere of Mars. The investigators will conduct design verification tests of parachutes and supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerators in 2012 and 2013. The first supersonic flight tests are set for 2014 and 2015. Once tested, the devices will enable missions that maximize the capability of current launch vehicles, and could be used in Mars missions launching as early as 2018. The test campaign will be flown out of PMRF in Hawaii. Each LDSD test vehicle will be lifted to ~120k feet via high altitude balloon, dropped and propelled up to ~ mach 4.5 to simulate a mock Mars entry. The soft good test articles will be tested, and the test vehicle will then descend to the Pacific ~100 miles off-shore from PMRF. The Argos/GPS beacons will be used as tracking aid to locate the test vehicle. The test vehicle is being recovered for two reasons:

  1. Recover data recorders that have all science and forensic data stored on board the vehicle.
  2. Remove flight vehicle from the ocean to minimize any environmental impacts.

The initial unit will be used for engineering qualification purposes. Up to 10 units will be used on this program which include one more engineering qual unit with some modifications for triggering and then four flight vehicles with two units per flight vehicle. No more than two would be used simultaneously.

Indonesian Fishing Vessel Monitoring System

The Republic of Indonesia develops an 81,000 kilometers coastline with a maritime territory of 5.8 million km2. The potential resource is estimated at over 6 million tons per year out of which only 60% is exploited. Illegal catch is estimated to be on the order of 2 billion dollars. In order to guarantee the sustainability and the perennity of its resources, and to better protect it, the government of Indonesia has decided to implement a Fishing Vessel Monitoring System. This project is developed within the framework of the Law No 9/185 about fisheries and its technical decrees N0 142/2000, 42/2001, 47/2001.

The operator of the VMS unit remains the Ministry of Fisheries. Data will be processed and analyzed in Jakarta then transferred to regional offices. Each fishing company will have the possibility to access its own fleet's data. The government of Indonesia is interested in identifying the nature and the geographical location of resources in Indonesian waters in order to implement a program of protection and management. Data transmitted by the fleet are: position, date and time and catch report.

Two other VMS providers are approved in addition to Argos: Inmarsat D+ and PSN Garuda. The main reasons why Argos has been selected by the Ministry of Fisheries of Indonesia are:

  • The Ministry wishes to continue to use Argos since it provides a better integrity of data thanks to its unique Doppler-based positioning system.
  • Vessels characteristics: Indonesian fishing fleet is mostly based on vessels which can supply very little power to any onboard electronics equipment. Extensive trials have been done with different systems, and it became clear that Argos transmitters were working operationally on every type of Indonesian vessel.
  • Ease of use: Argos transmitters are simple to operate for non specialized crews. Argos data, which are automatically downloaded to the Ministry's monitoring centre are easy to analyze for all the Ministry's personnel.

Ice Floe Drift


Enviroment Canada


Drifting buoys are deployed every year on the sea ice to monitor the ice drift in various locations within Canadian waters. Such areas are: Gulf of St-Lawrence, Newfoundland & Labrador waters, Davis Strait of Baffin Bay as well as the Beaufort Sea. All Arctic data is made available to the International Arctic Buoy Program for monitoring ice trajectories in the Arctic. Data retrieved from these drifting buoys are used to verify/validate sea ice drift models. In the past few years, some drifter buoys have also been deployed on large tabular icebergs to monitor - in near real time - the location of significant hazards to mariners operating in Canadian waters.

Vendee Globe 2012


Vendee Globe


The Vendee Globe is an around the world boat race with no stop over during 4 months. The aim of the program is to monitor the boats engaged in the 2012 Race. Twenty boats will be equipped with keel-over beacons, which transmit only upon a boat capsize. The tracking will improve the safety at sea of the crew and the SAR operation if necessary.

Global Drifter Program (GDP) and
International Arctic Buoy Program (IABP)


Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory;
and Polar Science Center


The goal of the Global Drifter Program is to maintain a global array of satellite-tracked buoys, most equipped with Argos, to meet the need for an accurate and globally dense set of in situ observations of sea-surface temperature and surface circulation to support short-term predictions as well as climate research and monitoring.

The International Arctic Buoy Program maintains a network of drifting buoys across the Arctic Ocean. The IABP is a collaboration between 25 different institutions from 8 different countries, which work together to maintain a network of drifting buoys in the Arctic Ocean to provide meteorological and oceanographic data for research purposes and real-time operational requirements, including support to the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the World Weather Watch (WWW) Programme. The Argos system is the primary mode of data collection for the IABP. The data are collected and analyzed at the Polar Science Center (PSC), which produces data sets of SAT, SLP and ice motion for research in Arctic meteorology, oceanography and climate. These data sets are described in journal articles and annual data reports. The data from the IABP are also distributed operationally to the Global Telecommunications System, and are used to forecast weather and ice conditions. We have also become a participant of the International Programme for Antarctic Buoys (IPAB) & will be deploying buoys in the Southern Ocean.

For more information visit Status of Global Drifter Array or International Artic Buoy Programme


  • Geomagnetic Field

The Earth’s geomagnetic field surrounds the Earth and protects it from dangerous solar radiation. The Geomagnetic Field algorithm will monitor changes in the Earth’s geomagnetic field in three-dimensional space. These measurements are used to determine when Magnetopause crossings occur, which is important sign of the arrival of some major space weather events, such as Coronal Mass Ejections. Such massive events can cause Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GIC) in power grids, resulting in power outages. Because the magnetic field is used by the attitude control system of some satellites, these crossings are a sign that those satellites could experience issues as well. This product will help detect geomagnetic storms and sub-storms, providing early warnings to power and communication services.


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