National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1991

The Tropical Atmosphere Ocean array

Hayes, S.P., L.J. Mangum, and O.F. Steffin

In Proceedings of Oceans '91, Ocean Technologies and Opportunities in the Pacific for the 90's, IEEE 91CH3063-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1–3 October 1991, 835–838 (1991)

The focus of the international Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere (TOGA) program has been the investigation of the oceanic and atmospheric dynamics relating to the El Niño phase of the Southern Oscillation phenomenon in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and its importance in the year-to-year variability of global climate. As part of the TOGA program, efforts have been made to enhance the real-time ocean observing system in the tropical Pacific Ocean. One element of this improved system is the TOGA-Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) array of wind and upper ocean thermistor chain moorings. Measurements from these moorings include surface parameters (wind, air and sea surface temperature) as well as subsurface temperatures down to a depth of 500 meters. These data are transmitted to shore in real-time using the ARGOS system on NOAA's polar orbiting satellites, processed by Service ARGOS, and placed on the Global Telecommunications System. Post recovery processing and analysis of the data is performed at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle, Washington. This array and its planned expansion is the result of international collaboration with scientists from France, Japan, Korea and USA. The TAO array, its development, and plans for an expanded array are discussed.

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