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Spring 2014 Update: Summary of Conditions for the Northeast Shelf Ecosystem

  • Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem during 2013 represented a moderation of thermal conditions compared to the record highs observed in 2012. The moderation in temperature was not uniform over the ecosystem, with more cooling occurring in the southern part of the ecosystem.

  • Bottom temperature collected during the most recent fall survey indicate that benthic thermal conditions in the Middle Atlantic Bight have cooled to below average and have remained above average in the Gulf of Maine.

  • The fall bloom on the Northeast Shelf was poorly developed with the exception of some bloom activity in the Gulf of Maine; no fall bloom was detected on the Georges Bank.

  • Despite the moderation in thermal conditions on the Shelf, warm water thermal habitats remained at high levels in 2013.

  • The arrival of the fall thermal transition has gotten progressively later in all areas of the Northeast Shelf, with the most pronounced shift occurring in the northern part of the ecosystem. The shift in fall timing has delayed fall by nearly a month in some areas.

  • An experimental forecasting data product suggests that sea surface temperature will remain above average through summer into fall.
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