Fall 2013 Update: Spring Bloom Development on the Northeast Shelf

The spring bloom development in the ecoregions of the Northeast Shelf was atypical during 2013. Most regions of the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem have a well developed spring phytoplankton bloom. The impact of the spring bloom will depend on multiple factors related to the timing and duration of the bloom and how productive the constituent phytoplankton species are over time.

The spring bloom for the Northeast Shelf ecosystem as a whole was poorly developed and did not meet the threshold conditions of our bloom detection algorithm to be detected (see NES figure; for this and following figures, dark green line is long-term mean bloom pattern, light green line 2013 bloom pattern, points are for 2013 data).

Likewise, a bloom could not be detected in the Gulf of Maine or Scotian Shelf ecoregions (see GOM and SCS figures). In both areas a transition from low to high chlorophyll was detected which could be interpreted as the beginning of a bloom; however, these transitions were relative late and were not matched with a high to low transition.

Blooms were detected on Georges Bank and in the Middle Atlantic Bight (see GBK and MAB figures). The Georges Bank bloom was relatively late and a small dimension bloom compared to previous bloom patterns.

The Middle Atlantic Bight area usually does not have a discrete, detectable spring bloom; however, in 2013 a large spring bloom occurred in the area. This analysis was based on a blended time series of MODIS and SeaWiFS remote sensing data that utilized a time and area correction between the two sensors.

Gulf of Maine spring bloom
Gulf of Maine (GOM)
Scotian Shelf spring bloom
Scotian Shelf (SCS)
Georges Bank spring bloom
Georges Bank (GBK)
Middle Atlantic Bight spring bloom
Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB)
Northeast Shelf spring bloom
Northeast Shelf (NES)
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