Tuesday April 16, 2024

NBC San Diego

Underwater robots may be a key to understanding how the climate is changing and how our sea levels are rising. This year might be a preview of what the future holds.

Researchers at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography are building and deploying what they call Argo floats, all over the world. These under water robots can dive for days at a time, measuring temperature and salinity of ocean water to see how the ocean is changing.

The program started in San Diego a couple decades ago, and there are now dozens of countries also building and deploying these floats. More than 4,000 of those autonomous robots are now surveying the world’s oceans. They’ve done millions of dives. Each robot can work on its own, unassisted for up to five years on a single battery. The data is sent back via satellite and then available to the public for free. And the latest models, Deep ARGO floats, can dive roughly four miles to the ocean floor, to monitor how the ocean is changing in some of the most remote places on earth.

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