Fall 2008 Update: Spring Sea Surface Temperature Distribution

The distribution of sea surface temperature (SST) throughout the Northeast Shelf ecosystem during April 2006 shows the expected gradient of decreasing SST with increasing latitude. A sharp contrast is evident between the cool shelf water and the relatively warmer water along the shelf break from southern GB to Cape Hatteras. (see upper map figure showing the distribution of sea surface temperature in degrees Celsius). The departures of SSTs during April 2005 from the long-term April mean are shown as a temperature-anomaly map (see lower anomaly map, also in units of degrees Celsius). Surface waters in the northern portions of the GOM, and a large portion of the nearshore MAB, were slightly warmer than usual whereas SSTs on Georges Bank were normal to slightly cooler. Noteworthy is the unusually warm SSTs in the Slope Sea adjacent to the SNE shelf break. These anomalously warm SSTs are the result of a strong landward meander of the Gulf Stream during April. The presence of the Gulf Stream and a large warm-core ring off the Southern New England shelf may result in the transport of warm-temperate and tropical zooplankton and fish larvae into the region.

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