A main goal of a Ship Of Opportunity Programme (SOOP) is the provision of temperature profiles in near real time. The use of commercial ships and expandable probes allows the reduction of costs, in comparison with research ship cruises. A major cost effectiveness is achieved using an automated multiple launcher, requiring minimum personnel effort. A multiple launcher, developed in the framework of the Mediterranean Forecasting System - Toward Environmental Prediction Project (MFSTEP), allows for a sequential collection of eight temperature profiles, using a software-programmable sampling strategy. The data acquisition system can be remotely controlled in every functionality, and data can be transmitted by GSM-GPRS or satellite telephone systems.
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