The Mediterranean Moored Multi-sensor Array (M3A): system development and initial results
- 1National Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Oceanography, A. Kosmas Hellinikon, 16604, Athens, Greece
- 2Marine Technology Development Company (MARTEDEC) SA, Athens, Greece
- 3Institute of Marine Biology of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
- 4Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Trieste, Italy
- 5Tecnomare SA, Venice, Italy
Abstract. Operational forecasting of ocean circulation and marine ecosystem fluctuations requires multi-parametric real-time measurements of physical and biochemical properties. The architecture of a system that is able to provide such measurements from the upper-thermocline layers of the Mediterranean Sea is described here. The system was developed for the needs of the Mediterranean Forecasting System and incorporates state-of-the-art sensors for optical and chemical measurements in the upper 100 m and physical measurements down to 500 m. Independent moorings that communicate via hydro-acoustic modems are hosting the sensors. The satellite data transfer and the large autonomy allow for the operation of the system in any open-ocean site. The system has been in pre-operational use in the Cretan Sea since January 2000. The results of this pilot phase indicate that multi-parametric real-time observations with the M3A system are feasible, if a consistent maintenance and re-calibration program is followed. The main limitations of the present configuration of M3A are related: (a) to bio-fouling that primarily affects the turbidity and secondarily affects the other optical sensors, and (b) to the limited throughput of the currently used satellite communication system.
Key words. Atmospheric composition and structure (instruments and techniques.) Oceanography: general (ocean prediction) Oceanography: physical (upper ocean process)