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Research Document - 2005/021

Physical Oceanographic Conditions on the Scotian Shelf and in the Gulf of Maine during 2004

By Petrie, B., R.G. Pettipas, W.M. Petrie, V. Soukhovtsev


A review of physical oceanographic conditions on the Scotian Shelf and in the Gulf of Maine and adjacent offshore areas during 2004 has shown the continuation of conditions similar to 2003. Cool conditions tended to dominate the Scotian Shelf and the eastern Gulf of Maine in 2004. The temperature data from Boothbay Harbor were suspicious; the Boothbay Harbor laboratory is investigating. St. Andrews sea surface temperature was 0.8°C below normal making 2004 the 14th coldest in 84 years. At Prince 5, 0-90 m, monthly mean temperatures were generally below normal by about 0.9°C. Salinities were within 0.1 of normal throughout the year. Halifax sea surface temperature was 1.0°C below normal, making 2004 the 9th coldest in 79 years. At Halifax Station 2, 0-140 m temperature anomalies were about -1&deg:C; salinity was close to normal values. Misaine Bank, Emerald Basin, Georges Basin and eastern Georges Bank profiles featured anomalies of –1 to –2°C at most depths. Sydney Bight and Lurcher Shoals temperature profiles were quite variable. Standard sections in April, May and October on the Scotian Shelf support the overall conclusion of temperatures ~2°C below normal accompanied by an extensive cold intermediate layer on the shelf. Cabot Strait deep-water (200-300 m) temperatures were near normal. The temperatures from the July groundfish survey were exceptional with the outstanding feature being a very broad cold intermediate layer with below normal temperatures at 50 m, 100 m and the bottom. Break-up of the strong stratification pattern established in the late 20th and early 21st century continued in 2004 with substantial variability of the stratification parameter throughout the region. The overall stratification was slightly below normal for the Scotian Shelf region. The Shelf/Slope front and the Gulf Stream were about 20 km south of their mean positions.

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