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Argo probes broadcast surface measurements (among other things) on the worlds oceans, far away from traditional surface observations. Yin et al. (2010) study the assimilation of these measurements in an ocean model, but according to an unsourced remark on Wikipedia:

When a float transmits a profile it is quickly converted to a format that can be inserted on the GTS (Global Telecommunications System). The GTS is operated by the World Meteorological Organisation, or WMO, specifically for the purpose of sharing data needed for weather forecasting. Thus all nations who are members of the WMO receive all Argo profiles within a few hours of the acquisition of the profile..

The ocean model by Yin et al. (2010) is not a weather forecasting model. Are there any operational agencies that actually use Argo probe data for numerical weather prediction? Are there any publications on the impact this has had on forecast skill?

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One of the issues with ARGO data is that in most cases it does not provide data from the real surface of the ocean. When they ascend from their drifting depth (usually at 1000 or 2000 meters) to the surface, most of them stop recording at a depth of around 5 meters from the surface. From SeaBird (the company that provides the CTD sensors in most ARGO floats, SSalOceanSciencesMar08-5Pages.pdf‎): "...to avoid degrading the salinity accuracy by ingesting sea surface contaminants, the pump is turned off at approximately 5 decibars beneath the surface as the Argo float ascends." This creates problems when assimilating into atmospheric models because of inconsistencies between the satellite-derived sea surface temperature and the ARGO temperature at 5 meters. To address this issue and provide better surface flux information, some ARGO floats are equipped with a second temperature and salinity sensor (STS) that only measures in the proximity of the surface.

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  • $\begingroup$ On the uptake, the data are of immediate use for submariners... $\endgroup$ – Deer Hunter Apr 25 '14 at 18:28

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