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Description of the 2009 oceanographic conditions on the northeast U.S. continental shelf
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Description of the 2009 oceanographic conditions on the northeast U.S. continental shelf
  • Alternative Title:
    Oceanographic conditions on the northeast U.S. continental shelf
  • Description:
    "Hydrographic observations from fourteen surveys spanning the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf are combined into a descriptive overview of the broad-scale oceanographic conditions that were observed during 2009. Temperature and salinity observations are combined into six 2-month time periods in order to maximize both the spatial coverage of the data and its temporal resolution during the year. Maps of near-surface and near-bottom property distributions are presented for each bi-monthly period and time series of regional average properties are discussed for five geographic regions spanning the shelf: western Gulf of Maine (GOMW), eastern Gulf of Maine (GOME), Georges Bank (GBNK), and northern and southern Middle- Atlantic Bight (MABN and MABS, respectively). Surface conditions along the entire Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf were generally warm and fresh in 2009 relative to the reference period (1977-1987). The warmest/freshest waters were observed during the July/August time period with the largest anomalies occurring in the Middle Atlantic Bight. Near-bottom waters in the northern Middle Atlantic Bight were significantly fresher than normal early in the year, returning to normal values later in the year, while the opposite was true in the southern Middle-Atlantic Bight. Bottom temperatures trended warmer toward the end of 2009 from Georges Bank through the Middle-Atlantic Bight. While the annual average air temperature was slightly cooler than the long-term mean, the time of peak warming was shifted slightly later in the year. This may be partly responsible for the anomalously warm surface conditions observed in the Middle-Atlantic Bight at this time of year and for the enhanced warming that followed at depth in the near shore regions of the Middle Atlantic Bight. A Gulf Stream warm-core ring was responsible for anomalously warm and salty conditions observed over Georges Bank during the November/December period"--Abstract.

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