Global Marine Argo Atlas

Available for download from the ftp site.
New installation (April 2012)

A new version (1.2.0) of the Global Marine Argo Atlas is available for download and installtion. This will replace older versions of the Atlas and is necessary because the Argo data grid is now too large for Ferret, the graphing program behind the Atlas, to manipulate. Therefore, the Argo data grid has been split into two files, one with temperature and one with salinity variables. Version 1.2.0 has Argo and Reynolds SST data through March 2012 and monthly updates should resume shortly for April 2012 data and beyond.

Monthly updates

With the install 1.1.3 and higher, the monthly updates have resumed as of April 2011. Each year, you will need to install the new version of the Atlas (1.2.0 for data through 2011) as it cannot update for an entire year's worth of data. After the new version for the year, monthly updates will continue until the end of the year.


The Global Marine Argo Atlas makes it easy for users to look at Argo data and compare it to other global data sets in one free program. The Atlas, made to view gridded netCDF datasets, particularly Argo, Reynolds SST and Aviso altimetry, comes with the data already included and can be updated monthly to receive new data as it becomes available.

It is also possible to get a more recent update of Argo data in the equatorial region, every 10 days. This can provide the most current snapshot of what is going on in the ocean in the past several days.

To look at the data, simply choose what type of plot to view and a new window will open with the requested plot. See the examples to the right of this page. The plots are produced using the Ferret graphing utility. The current plot options are map view, section view, line plot, time series, and a few simple products.

It is possible to create both Postscript and JPGs of the plots produced.

If you want to have more control over the plotting, it is also possible to use a command line style interface instead of the GUI. Here are some instructions to get started. As you become more familiar with Ferret, you can create your own programs to make exactly the plot you want.

Installation instructions

  • Double click on executable file downloaded from ftp site.
  • Follow the installation instructions, paying special attention to the choice of installing an Xserver with the Atlas. Ferret needs an Xserver to create the plots. If you have your own Xserver, there is no need for you to install the one with the Atlas, but if you do not have one, please install the Xserver, Xming, when you install the Atlas. Cygwin used to be the Xserver provided with the Atlas, but Xming works better with Windows7, so now Xming is standard with the Atlas installation.
  • After installation, a shortcut should appear on your desktop, named something like Global_Marine_Atlas.exe. Double click on this to start the Atlas.
  • Choose the type of plot you want to make and get started looking at Argo data.

Updating data in near-real time

Near the middle of each month, new Argo and Reynolds SST data from the previous month will be available to update the Atlas. Currently this is done by pushing the update button on the Atlas. If you have an old version of the Atlas, without an update button, download the new version and re-install the Atlas.

When the update button is pushed, the Atlas will check the Argo and Reynolds SST files on your computer to see what the last date is in the grid. Then the Atlas will check the ftp site to see if a new month of data is available. If it is, the Atlas downloads this new executable file and asks you to install it on your computer. Please follow the instructions and be patient as it can take some time to append the new data to the current files.

If you are a few months behind the newest data, you will have to press the update button several times until you are up to date. At the beginning of each year, the entire Argo file must be replaced because a new mean calculation is done for the previous year and the monthly update file is very large.

If you do not have access to a high speed connection, it will occasionally be difficult to download the update. This will occur in January when an entirely new Argo data grid is included. It might also occur if a new version of the Atlas program itself is included in the update. If you are having difficulties downloading the file, please contact and a CD can be sent with a new version of the Atlas with updated data.

Trouble shooting

  • Cygwin dll:

    A potential problem running the Atlas is conflicting versions of the file "cygwin1.dll". You may need to search your machine for cygwin1.dll. If you have more than one version, copy the most recent version of cygwin1.dll over any older versions.

    In a typical cygwin installation, you can find the file in: c:\cygwin\bin\cygwin1.dll

    In the Atlas, minimal cygwin installation, it is in: c:\cygmin\bin\cygwin1.dll.

    The Atlas uses Ferret and Ferret looks for cygwin1.dll in: c:\marineatlas\ferret\TMAP\cygwin1.dll

  • No window pops up when you hit "create plot"

    Make sure that you have an Xserver running.

    If you have both a LAN and a wireless connection running, especially in Windows Vista, these can interfere with Ferret connecting to its Xserver. Disable the wireless connection, quite the Xserver and the Atlas. Restart the Atlas and try plotting again.


For Atlas support, please contact Megan Scanderbeg ( or Lisa Lehmann (

How to acknowledge data plotted in the Atlas:

For Argo data:
Roemmich, D. and J. Gilson, 2009: The 2004-2008 mean and annual cycle of temperature, salinity, and steric height in the global ocean from the Argo Program. Progress in Oceanography, 82, 81-100.

For Reynolds data:

For AVISO data: