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Ecosystems Dynamics & Assessment

Current Conditions of the Northeast Shelf Ecosystem -- Spring 2017 Update

See previous update here

Summary of Conditions of the Northeast Shelf Ecosystem

  • Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem during 2016 continue to be above average; in some season/area time series, 2016 was the second warmest year on record.

  • The fall bloom on the Northeast Shelf was well developed in the Gulf of Maine, and, though chlorophyll concentrations on Georges Bank were elevated, a distinct bloom was not detected.

  • Cool water habitats (5-15°C), which form the core thermal habitats of the Northeast Shelf, were at average levels in 2016, whereas warm habitats (16-27°C) were at high levels reflecting the trend of increasing warm habitat in recent years.

  • The variability of daily sea surface temperature has increased over recent decades as indicated by the trends in standard deviation of daily temperature.

  • The fall distribution of fish and invertebrate species sampled by the NEFSC shows that most species have moved to the Northeast and into deeper water.

  • The strength of temperature fronts has increased over much of the Northeast Shelf; the 2016 frontal magnitudes for Northeast Shelf ecoregions moderated compared to recent years.
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