Long-term monitoring programme of the hydrological variability in the Mediterranean Sea: a first overview of the HYDROCHANGES network
The long-term monitoring of basic hydrological parameters (temperature and salinity), collected as time series with adequate temporal resolution (i.e. with a sampling interval allowing the resolution of all important timescales) in key places of the Mediterranean Sea (straits and channels, zones of dense water formation, deep parts of the basins), constitute a priority in the context of global changes. This led CIESM (The Mediterranean Science Commission) to support, since 2002, the HYDROCHANGES programme ( http//www.ciesm.org/marine/programs/hydrochanges.htm_blankhttp//www.ciesm.org/marine/programs/hydrochanges.htm), a network of autonomous conductivity, temperature, and depth (CTD) sensors, deployed on mainly short and easily manageable subsurface moorings, within the core of a certain water mass. The HYDROCHANGES strategy is twofold and develops on different scales. To get information about long-term changes of hydrological characteristics, long time series are needed. But before these series are long enough they allow the detection of links between them at shorter timescales that may provide extremely valuable information about the functioning of the Mediterranean Sea. The aim of this paper is to present the history of the programme and the current set-up of the network (monitored sites, involved groups) as well as to provide for the first time an overview of all the time series collected under the HYDROCHANGES umbrella, discussing the results obtained thanks to the programme.