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Description of the 2002 oceanographic conditions on the Northeast Continental Shelf
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Description of the 2002 oceanographic conditions on the Northeast Continental Shelf
  • Description:
    A summary of hydrographic observations for 12 surveys on the northeast continental shelf during 2002 is presented. Distributions of CTD stations, surface and bottom temperature, salinity, and anomalies are portrayed. The average surface and bottom temperatures and salinities have been calculated in five geographic regions over the northeast continental shelf: western Gulf of Maine (GOMW), eastern Gulf of Maine (GOME), Georges Bank (GB), northern Middle Atlantic Bight (MABN) and southern Middle Atlantic Bight (MABS). Time series plots from various shipboard environmental sensors are included if available. Hydrographic data collected during 2002 were sorted into six 2-month time bins to provide the best spatial coverage used in the averaging method. Review of the computed areal average temperature and salinity data indicate that during the majority of the year the northeast continental shelf experienced warmer temperatures relative to the MARMAP reference period. But temperatures were only slightly above expected values by November with the exception of the northern MAB where Gulf Stream rings were located at the shelf edge. Surface salinity observations in the eastern GOM and Georges Bank were fresher than the expected conditions during both the winter and spring although higher than expected salinity values were observed by fall. The positive salinity anomalies in the GOM and Georges Bank persisted through the end of the field season. The pattern of increasing salinity anomalies observed in the GOM regions may indicate a change in the contribution of slope water flowing into the GOM through northeast channel. Both surface and bottom salinity values were relatively saltier during most of the year in the southern MAB region. The latter observation is most likely associated with the shoreward movement of the shelf/slope front.
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