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Spring 2012 Update: Summary of Conditions of the Northeast Shelf Ecosystem

  • Sea surface temperature (SST) in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem were above average during the second half of 2011 continuing the trend of warm conditions found during the first half of the year.

  • There were exceptionally robust spring phytoplankton blooms on the Northeast Shelf; however, the fall bloom was not distinct enough to be measured as an event. Clearly there were multiple regional blooms in the second half of the year, most notably a summer bloom in the Middle Atlantic Bight.

  • Zooplankton biomass levels were above average for the first half of the year and below average for the second half.

  • Key climate drivers related to thermal conditions on Northeast Shelf were at extreme index levels, which were associated with the warm conditions observed on the Shelf in both short and long time series.

  • Core thermal habitats were at a low level in 2011 caused by warming conditions that were not uniform across the ecosystem.
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