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Research Document - 2007/023

Physical Oceanographic Conditions on the Scotian Shelf and in the Gulf of Maine during 2006

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


A review of physical oceanographic conditions on the Scotian Shelf and in the Gulf of Maine and adjacent offshore areas during 2006 indicates that the temperatures were generally ~1°C above normal. This contrasts with 2005 when cooler conditions prevailed. St. Andrews sea surface temperature was 1.31°C above normal making 2006 the warmest in 86 years. At Prince 5, which is 90 m deep, monthly mean temperatures were generally above normal by about 1.1 to 1.3°C. The annual temperatures at 0 and 90 m were the second warmest and warmest in 82 years. Salinities anomalies were -0.02 (0 m) and 0.14 (90 m). Halifax sea surface temperature was 0.3°C above normal, making 2006 the 17th warmest in 81 years. At Halifax Station 2 from 0 to 140 m, temperature anomalies were generally 1oC above normal; salinity anomalies were near normal. Sydney Bight and Misaine Bank had typical temperature anomalies of 1.3 and 0.7°C in the upper 100 m; Emerald Basin, 0.8°C from 0-250 m, Lurcher Shoals, 1.4°C from 0-50 m, Georges Basin, 0.6°C from 0-300 m, and eastern Georges Bank, 0.1°C from 0-50 m all showed positive anomalies at most depths. Observations from standard sections in April and October on the Scotian Shelf support the overall conclusion of generally above normal temperatures over the shelf. Cabot Strait deep-water (200-300 m) temperatures were near normal. The overall temperature for the combined areas of 4Vn,s, 4W and 4X from the July groundfish survey was 0.74°C, an increase of 2.1°C from the record cold values in 2004 and the third warmest year in 37. The overall stratification was above normal for the Scotian Shelf region in 2006. The Shelf/Slope front and the Gulf Stream were about 8 km south and 6 km north of their mean positions. A composite index for the region indicates that 2006 was the warmest of the past 37 years.

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