Description of the 2010 oceanographic conditions on the northeast U.S. continental shelf
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Description of the 2010 oceanographic conditions on the northeast U.S. continental shelf
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  • Alternative Title:
    Oceanographic conditions on the northeast U.S. continental shelf
  • Description:
    "Hydrographic observations from ten surveys spanning the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf are combined into a descriptive overview of the broad-scale oceanographic conditions that were observed during 2010. 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 2010 relative to the reference period (1977-1987). Warming was largest in the spring and early summer, penetrating to the bottom throughout the region. The annual average air temperature over the Northeastern U.S. was warmer in 2010 than historical averages, with the greatest warming occurring during spring and summer. This may be responsible for the anomalously warm surface ocean temperatures at this time of year and for the enhanced warming that followed at depth in the near shore regions of the Middle Atlantic Bight. Freshening was greatest in the surface waters near the coast in the western Gulf of Maine and southern MAB during periods of maximum spring discharge, suggesting some influence from local fresh water sources in these regions. The surface freshening observed over Georges Bank and throughout the MAB penetrates to the bottom, while bottom waters in the Northeast Channel and deep basins of the GoM were saltier than normal reflective of the slope water influence in these regions"--Abstract.
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