Spring 2009 Update: Fall Sea Surface Temperature Distribution

The progression of fall sea surface temperatures (SSTs) during the months of July through December are shown in the left hand set of panels. Higher SSTs appear as warm shades whereas low SSTs appear as cool shades. The right hand set of panels show SST anomalies, those tending to exceed plus or minus one quarter of a standard deviation of the overall SST for the field. The anomaly figures highlight above (red shades) and below (blue shades) average SSTs in a given area. Above average spring SSTs extended into July in the Gulf of Maine, on Georges Bank and throughout much of the Middle Atlantic Bight. These warmer than average conditions diminished in August and thereafter SSTs remained at average levels through the remainder of the year. Only some light tones of blue and red appear on the Northeast Shelf during these months. Offshore patches of warming and cooling are typically due warm and cold core rings associated with the Gulf Stream. The Scotian Shelf, which is a source of water for the Northeast Shelf, was very cool this past fall. Inflows of Scotian Shelf water may have contributed to a moderation of SSTs in the Gulf of Maine.

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