In 1989, a comprehensive 10-year international programme called the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) was initiated, with the primary aim of studying the ways in which the oceans may affect climate (Fofonoff and Holliday, 1994). It will provide a baseline description of the present state of the oceans such that future changes may be recorded. The study is being co-ordinated by Britain's Institute of Oceanographic Sciences (IOS).
The core of the project is the Hydrographic Programme. This is providing measurements of temperature, salinity and various dissolved constituents that conform to strict observational standards. Zonal and meridinal sections are being worked across the world oceans. The field programme collects data through a variety of instruments. The programme was timed to make use of satellites launched in the early 1990s. Fixed current meter mooring arrays have been deployed in all the major ocean basins to measure subsurface currents. A drifter programme was begun in 1991 using Lagrangian surface drifters and subsurface floats (see Section 3.1.1) to provide track charts for the upper ocean.
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