Spring 2010 Update: Fall Conditions - Northeast Shelf Ecosystem

The Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem experienced minor fluctuations in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) during the fall of 2009. SSTs during the second half the year were generally below average with the exception of August temperatures and November into December temperature, which were above average. The high level of phytoplankton biomass (represented by the high chlorophyll a concentrations in the adjacent figure) observed in the first half of 2009 also continued into the second half of the year. Integrated estimates of chlorophyll concentration were at high levels by late summer, approximately a month in advance of the typical time frame that fall blooms usually develop on the shelf. This analysis was based on the most up to date version of the chlorophyll data; the revised data reaffirms the conclusion that 2009 continues the trend over the past few years that both spring and fall phytoplankton productivity are at high levels. Zooplankton biomasses were at or above average levels throughout the summer and into the fall of 2009 (late fall data is still be processed).

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