Educational uses of Argo data
With over 3200 floats reporting free, easy to access data every 10 days, Argo provides a relevant, global ocean data set. The temperature, salinity and velocity data from Argo can teach everything from basic concepts, like the temperature of the ocean and how to read graphs, to more complicated ones like analyzing ocean data over time and climate change issues. Given the broad range of possible audiences for learning about Argo, several different approaches have been taken.
The first is a fairly classic approach of developing educational material for classroom use. The target audience for this category is large, encompassing students of all ages (kindergarten through university level). The goal is to have material for all levels. Some materials need computers and internet access, while others do not. Thus, all teachers, no matter their resources, can use Argo data in their classroom.
The second approach taken is outreach workshops. These workshops target the scientific community. Scientists who want to learn more about how to obtain, map, and analyze Argo data are invited to participate. Workshops are organized by groups associated with Argo to address the differing needs generated by the multitude of users around the world.
A third approach consists of developing user-friendly online resources, such as in Google Earth and Wikipedia, which allow the public, in general, to educate themselves about Argo. These resources differ from the educational materials for classroom use in that they do not provide actual curricula, but they can provide tools to create material to teach others about Argo.
Outreach workshops in Africa
A series of workshops have been held in western Africa starting in 2006 to work with scientists in the region to educate them on how to access Argo data, graph it and interpret it. In 2007, there was an instrument operation and deployment workshop which was a collaboration with the US Navy under their Africa Partnership Station program. In this case, instruments were deployed off a US Navy ship by the participants. In 2009, a data analysis workshop was held in Nigeria. Since the demand for courses in French was recognized, a workshop is being planned in coordination with IFREMER, the US Navy, the US Embassy in Libreville and several institutions in Gabon for the nearby Francophone region.
Argo Google Earth layers
Google Earth provides a unique, interactive way to work with Argo data in real time. The Argo Technical Coordinator keeps an official Argo layer up to date and freely available for download. Simply download the layer and place it in your favorites section on Google Earth. Then, explore the globe to find the locations of floats, follow float trajectories to see where floats have been, see data from the individual floats, see how float owners analyze their data and read stories about a subset of floats. A new feature is overlays of properties measured by Argo so anyone can quickly see, for example, the temperature based on Argo floats at the surface, down to 2000 dbar, anywhere on the globe from 2004 to the present.