Orange Marine, a major player in the laying of new submarine communications cables and the maintenance of existing cables across the world's oceans, France-based Orange Group, has signed a partnership with Euro-Argo, the European branch of a global ocean observation consortium, to provide technical resources to launch free-drifting oceanographic data collection floats along its ships' routes.
These floats, which have an average lifespan of four years, gather data on ocean temperature and salinity from the surface down to 2,000 m depth. Argo, an international program founded in 2000 by UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and involving over 30 countries, is the first global network for in situ ocean observation.
The network is gradually expanding, and currently counts a total of nearly 4,000 active floats, with an average of 1,000 deployed each year worldwide. The cable ship Pierre de Fermat launched the first float North of Cape Finisterre (Spain) during a maintenance operation in September. A second float was launched 500 nautical miles away, in the Azores region. A third float is still on board the ship, ready to be deployed.
The data from the floats are sent in real-time via satellite to a platform opened to researchers from around the world, enabling them to study the state of the world's oceans and better understand their influence on climate change, and vice-versa.
The deployment strategy aims at providing homogeneous float coverage across the globe, so Euro-Argo is looking for opportunities to launch floats from vessels including dedicated research ships, racing sail boats, commercial ships, and more.
"This partnership with Euro-Argo fits perfectly with our environmental commitment at Orange Marine. We are thrilled that launching floats in areas with sparse coverage can make it possible to collect data that can help researchers to better understand oceans and climate change," said Julie Zarade, Quality, Safety, and Environment Coordinator at Orange Marine.
Orange Marine has been committed to constantly reducing its environmental impact, particularly through its ISO 14001 certification. It is also committed to partnerships with organizations like Souffleurs d'Ecume, an environmental group based in the Var region of Southern France.