Russ E. DAVIS (1941-2022), Death of a pioneer in operational oceanography

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By Scripps Institution of Oceanography (San Diego)

Russ E. Davis died on 9 June 2022 at the age of 81. A physical oceanographer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, he was one of the great pioneers of contemporary oceanography.

Russ E. Davis is a leading name in the international community of oceanographers, undoubtedly recognised as a key player in the advancement of knowledge in recent decades on the role of the ocean in climate and on the dynamics of the upper ocean.

Thanks to his boldness and inventiveness, Russ E. Davis was responsible for the birth of the newest and most revolutionary generation of ocean observation instruments in history. He has actively contributed to the work of observing the oceans with satellites. Above all, in the 1990s he developed the famous SOLO (Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangian Observer) autonomous float, which became the backbone of an international network known as Argo, which the New York Times already described in 2014 as “one of the scientific triumphs of the age.” This Argo network now has 4,000 floats spread around the world, supported by contributions from 30 countries.

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