Fall 2013 Update: Data Sources
SST was derived by compositing data from three sources: the Advanced Very-High Resolution Radiometer onboard the Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite (AVHRR-POES); the MODIS Terra sensor; and the MODIS Aqua sensor. The data represent the surface ocean temperature, not the temperature of the entire water column. Long term SSTs were extracted from the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST, version 3) dataset. This dataset is based on the temperature compilation of the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) SST dataset, and contains reconstructed SST fields (obtained by interpolation) in regions with sparse data. Temperatures from the survey were taken from hydrocasts made during the bottom trawl survey and EcoMon cruises on the Northeast shelf.
Synoptic views of surface concentrations of chlorophyll a were derived from the Sea-viewing Wide Field of View Sensor (SeaWiFS) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiomater on the Aqua satellite (MODIS-Aqua). Data from these ocean color sensors were obtained from the NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group. Chlorophyll a is considered a proxy of phytoplankton biomass present in the near-surface water.
Zooplankton biomass was derived from shipboard surveys of the U.S. Northeast Shelf ecosystem. Zooplankton provide the link from primary producers to higher trophic levels. From 1977-1987, the MArine Resources Monitoring, Assessment, & Prediction (MARMAP) program conducted intensive surveys from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to Nova Scotia. These efforts continued at a reduced level through the 1990s and are ongoing today as the Ecosystem Monitoring program (EcoMon). Currently, 30 plankton samples are taken 6 times a year in each of four ecosystem subareas: Middle Atlantic Bight, Southern New England, Georges Bank, and the Gulf of Maine (resulting in approximately 720 zooplankton biomass samples annually). Zooplankton are identified to the lowest taxonomic level possible, resulting in taxon specific data on abundance and distribution.