Watch the new Argo animation

The Argo stop-motion animation aims to inspire children (and adults) to engage with marine science. It is quirky, fun and informative at the same time. The animation explains what an Argo float is, how it operates and how all this data helps us to understand the ocean circulation and climate.

"The Argo animation came about after I saw Malou Zuidema’s fantastic 'Forests of the Sea' animation that she did for Lynchpin and the Bookend Trust. I thought communicating science in a fun way would be a great way to get kids more engaged with marine science. I also thought the Argo story would translate well into the medium of stop-motion animation," says Esmee van Wijk, a CSIRO physical oceanographer who works on the Australian Argo program.

"Malou and I worked together to come up with a short story that explains the history of oceanography and ocean measurements and how Argo floats have become a great solution to measuring large parts of the ocean in an autonomous way. Besides explaining to kids how Argo floats work and what they do, we also wanted to showcase how the Argo data is used in real-world applications like climate and seasonal forecasting, scientific research and to help industry to predict ocean currents, temperature and wave height."

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Oceanographers have deployed more than 3500 robotic profiling floats into the global oceans as part of the international Argo program overthe past 15 years. Argo floats measure water properties such as temperature, salinity and pressure from the surface to a depth of two kilometres. Floats can change their buoyancy by pumping oil into and out of an external bladder, which allows them to sink, drift with the ocean currents and measure data as they rise to the surface. The floats send their data and location back to processing centres on land via the satellite network. Each float repeats this cycle every 10 days and can drift in the oceans measuring data for as long as 4 to 7 years.

"We had a lot of fun creating the animation and thinking about how to illustrate and communicate the different parts of the Argo story. We hope people enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it."


Story: Malou Zuidema & Esmee van Wijk
Artist: Malou Zuidema
Scientist: Esmee van Wijk
Voice-over: Jan Zika
Thanks to: Australia Argo Team
Supported by: CSIRO, Argo and IMOS

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Categories:  Argo Floats, news, Facility, video

Still images from the stop motion animation. Credit:Malou Zuidema