Spring 2007 Update: Fall Sea Surface Temperature Distribution

The distribution of sea surface temperature (SST) throughout the Northeast Shelf ecosystem during October 2006 shows a clear separation between the warmer waters in the Southern New England (SNE) / Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) subareas, and the cooler surface waters to the north, over Georges Bank and throughout the Gulf of Maine (GOM) (see upper map figure showing the distribution of sea surface temperature in degrees Celsius). The warm waters of the MAB continental shelf and over the western GOM water suggest conditions typical of late summer-early fall where the water column is vertically stratified. In contrast, the cooler surface waters over Nantucket Shoals, parts of Georges Bank, and along the Maine and Nova Scotia coasts reflect the typical conditions of strong tidal mixing and weak vertical thermal stratification throughout the summer. The departures of SSTs during October 2006 from the long-term October mean are shown as a temperature-anomaly map (see lower anomaly map, also in units of degrees Celsius). Surface waters in the GOM and on the SNE shelf and most of the MAB shelf were about 1-2 degrees warmer during October 2006 than average. SSTs over much of Georges Bank are close to the average values for October. SSTs over the broad axis of the Gulf Stream during October 2006 are 3-4 degrees warmer than the mean SST based on the 22-year (1985-2006) climatology.

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