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Research Document - 2005/003

Physical Environmental Conditions in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence during 2004

By Chassé, J., R.G. Pettipas, W.M. Petrie

Abstract

Physical environmental conditions in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (Magdalen Shallows) during 2004 were examined using air temperature, sea ice and oceanographic data. Air temperatures were near normal for most of the year. Ice conditions were more severe than average, with the ice appearing slightly earlier and lasting longer than normal. Bottom conditions were variable but tended to have warmed over much of the deeper part of the Magdalen Shallows compared to 2003, although some shallow parts, along the coast, were cooler. A band of water extending from Chaleur Bay to Western Cape-Breton shows temperatures below the long-term average. Surface waters were significantly cooler than normal in 2004. This contrasts with a decrease in the volume of the Cold Intermediate Layer (CIL) from 2003. The longer term cooling trend at both the surface and bottom (75 m) seems to be continuing while salinities continue to increase since their minimum values around 1995 (Western Shallows).

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