Understanding the mechanisms underpinning the space-time variability of phytoplankton dynamics and associated carbon fluxes is an absolute requirement to predict how oceanic ecosystems will respond to future climate change with biogeochemical implications and feedbacks on the climate system. In the context of the KEOPS-2 cruise, it is proposed to deploy 4 biogeochemical profiling floats in a key region of the Southern Ocean, the naturally iron-enriched waters off the Kerguelen Plateau where dense phytoplankton blooms develop.

This innovative observational strategy will enable to characterize, in situ and over a broad range of timescales, the biological and biogeochemical responses to rapid changes in physical forcing, especially mixed layer dynamics and mesoscale activity. In addition, these biogeochemical floats will contribute to increase the density of the Argo network, which is particularly low in Southern Ocean waters.

Profiling floats are acquired in the context of the project PROKEOPS, funded by the Group Mission Mercator Coriolis (GMMC). KEOPS-2 is a four-year project which began in 2010.