The M3A multi-sensor buoy network of the Mediterranean Sea
- 1Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Oceanography, Athens, Greece
- 2Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Studi sui Sistemi Intelligenti per l'Automazione, Genova, Italy
- 3Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Department of Oceanography, Trieste, Italy
- 4Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Scienze Marine, Genova, Italy
- 5Tecnomare SpA, Venezia, Italy
Abstract. A network of three multi-sensor timeseries stations able to deliver real time physical and biochemical observations of the upper thermocline has been developed for the needs of the Mediterranean Forecasting System during the MFSTEP project. They follow the experience of the prototype M3A system that was developed during the MFSPP project and has been tested during a pilot pre-operational period of 22 months (2000–2001). The systems integrate sensors for physical (temperature, salinity, turbidity, current speed and direction) as well as optical and chemical observations (dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll-a, PAR, nitrate). The south Aegean system (E1-M3A) follows a modular design using independent mooring lines and collects biochemical data in the upper 100 m and physical data in the upper 500 m of the water column. The south Adriatic buoy system (E2-M3A) uses similar instrumentation but on a single mooring line and also tests a new method of pumping water samples from relatively deep layers, performing analysis in the protected "dry" environment of the buoy interior. The Ligurian Sea system (W1-M3A) is an ideal platform for air-sea interaction processes since it hosts a large number of meteorological sensors while its ocean instrumentation, with real time transmission capabilities, is confined in the upper 50 m layer. Despite their different architecture, the three systems have common sampling strategy, quality control and data management procedures. The network operates in the Mediterranean Sea since autumn 2004 collecting timeseries data for calibration and validation of the forecasting system as well for process studies of regional dynamics.