Teledyne Webb Research, a business unit of Teledyne Technologies Incorporated (NYSE:TDY) announced today the shipment of it's 6000th float designed and manufactured at it's Falmouth, MA facility. The float, known as the Autonomous Profiling Explorer (APEX), was designed in the late 1980s by company founder Douglas Webb and is widely used by oceanographers to take temperature, salinity, and pressure measurements providing a broad understanding of the world's oceans and the effects of climate change. This milestone shipment marks the company's success as a leader in profiling float technology.
These 4-foot-long APEX floats descend to a predetermined depth, typically more than a mile below the surface, to drift for 10 days before returning to the surface to transmit the collected data. During ascent, which takes about six hours, the instruments collect profiles of pressure, temperature, and salinity for transmission via satellite before returning to drift depth. Powered by batteries, the floats are designed to make these data collection cycles for about four years, although the longest mission on record lasted thirteen years and spanned 12,400 miles.
APEX floats play a major role in the international Argo program, a global array of floats designed to document seasonal to decadal climate variability and trends. The Argo project began in late 1999 and reflects the collaborative effort of 23 countries. The project, which reached its 3,000-float objective in late 2007, requires approximately 800 replacement floats per year to maintain the array. Two-thirds of the 3,000 Argo floats are built by the company.
To learn more about the Argo project, visit www.argo.ucsd.edu.