Spring 2007 Update: Data Sources

SST is derived by compositing data from three sources, the Advanced Very-High Resolution Radiometer onboard the Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite (AVHRR-POES), MODIS Terra and MODIS Aqua, and represents the near-surface ocean temperature, not the temperature of the entire water column.

Daily synoptic views of surface concentrations of chlorophyll a are derived from the Sea-viewing Wide Field of View Sensor (SeaWiFS) ocean color sensor onboard the SeaStar spacecraft. Chlorophyll a is considered to be an index of the amount of phytoplankton biomass present in surface water.

Zooplankton biomass is derived from shipboard surveys of the U.S. Northeast Shelf ecosystem - these small animals link the energy produced through primary production 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. Currently, 30 plankton samples are taken 6 times a year in each of the four ecosystem subareas: Mid-Atlantic Bight, Southern New England, Georges Bank, and Gulf of Maine (resulting in approximately 720 measures of zooplankton biomass annually).

Phytoplankton and zooplankton also are collected on monthly transects across the Gulf of Maine and the Middle Atlantic Bight using Ships of Opportunity. Phytoplankton abundance is quantified based on the color of the sample. Zooplankton abundance is based on counts of individual species and stages. During the spring and summer of 2006, collections were suspended along the Middle Atlantic Bight transect owing to lack of funding.

Long term SST were extracted from the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST, version 2) dataset. This dataset is based on the temperature compilation of the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) SST dataset and represents interpolation procedures that reconstructs SST fields in regions with sparse data.

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(File Modified Apr. 19 2017)