Environmental Monitors on Lobster Traps
Quarterly Progress Report Oct-Dec 2002

Over the course of the last three months, a total of  21 more temperature and 4 more salinity series have been submitted, processed, plotted, and archived.  Each of these series typically contains several months of hourly records. At this rate of data streaming, the total number of  temperature records in the eMOLT data base may exceed one million by the end of this year.  There are now 118 documented eMOLT sites.  Our objective is minimize the number of sites in order to revisit previously-occupied locations.

One example of a recently-processed record  from Kurt Oehme of the Mass Lobstermen Association is shown in Figure 1.  His eighteen-month-long record demonstrates the warmer conditions existing for nearly all the sites in 2002 relative to 2001.  At this location the difference was typically 2-3 degrees thoughout the summer season.   Another example comes from David Johnson of the Maine Lobstermen Association shown in Figure 2.

One should note however, that the plots above are "7-day Running Average Temperature" so that most of the short term variability has been filtered out for visual clarity.  Many sites continue to document significant high-frequency variability, the most obvious being those off the outer Cape Cod.  Alex Brown, for example, returned another record of tidally induced variability as seen in Figure 3.

The salinity series noted above come from four locations along the coast from Gran Manaan Channel to the Great South Channel.  Figure 4 summarizes the salinity records to date. Two other records from Jim Tripp and David Johnson, both from mid-coast Maine have not been downloaded yet. 

In other eMOLT news, we are investigating future directions.  First, we have contacted several probe manufacturers asking about the possibility of a new probe design that would allow lobstermen to see a realtime display of bottom temperature as the probe is hauled on deck.  One probe company has responded positively and willing to engineer such a product given a preorder of 300+ for $200/each.  We are considereing ways to fund such a unit given the obvious demand from the fishermen.  Second, we are negotiating with other physical oceanographers at Woods Hole Oceanographic in submitting a proposal to the US Navy to supplement the existing probes on the shelf edge of the Middle Atlantic Bight.  Finally, we have begun preparation for eMOLT "Phase IV- Drifters"  to NEC in the spring of 2003 and have posted the preliminary plans on the emolt.org web site under "proposal documents".

We will be having both administrators' and participants' meetings at both the Mass Lobstermen Weekend and the Maine Fish Forum in a few months from now.  There will be eMOLT  downloading sessions, posters, and presentations.

For further information contact: James.Manning@noaa.gov

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