Spring 2010 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 fall SSTs were observed during the months of August, November and December; during August all regions of the shelf were at higher temperatures whereas during November and December elevated temperatures were restricted to the shelf break and the eastern portion of Georges Bank. The alternate cool months involved lower temperatures in the Middle Atlantic Bight and in Southern New England, whereas not all parts of the Gulf of Maine were particularly cool. 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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