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Research Document - 2008/020

An assessment of the physical oceanographic environment on the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf during 2007

By E. Colbourne, J. Craig, C. Fitzpatrick, D. Senciall, P. Stead, and W. Bailey


Oceanographic observations on the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf during 2007 are presented in relation to their long-term (1971-2000) means. At Station 27 off St. John’s, the depth-averaged annual water temperature decreased from the record high observed in 2006 to about normal. Annual surface temperatures at Station 27 also decreased from the 61-year record of 1.7°C above normal in 2006 to 0.2°C above normal in 2007. Bottom temperatures decreased from 0.8°C above normal in 2006 to 0.4°C above normal in 2007. Annual surface temperatures on Hamilton Bank and the Flemish Cap were 0.5°C above normal and on St. Pierre Bank they were about normal. Upper-layer salinities at Station 27 were above normal for the 6th consecutive year. The area of the Cold-Intermediate-Layer (CIL) water mass on the eastern Newfoundland Shelf during 2007 was below normal for the 13th consecutive year and the 14th lowest since 1948. Bottom temperatures during the spring of 2007 remained above normal on the Grand Banks but were below normal on St. Pierre Bank. During the fall they were significantly above normal in NAFO Div. 2J and 3K and most of 3L, but were below normal in the shallow areas of 3NO. The area of bottom habitat on the Grand Banks covered by sub-zero water decreased from >50% during the first half of the 1990s to near 15% during 2004-06 but increased to near-normal at about 30% in 2007. In general, water temperatures on the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf decreased from 2006 values but remained above normal in most areas. Notable exceptions were on St. Pierre Bank during spring where temperatures were below normal and in northern areas of NAFO Div. 2J and 3K where bottom temperatures were significantly above normal during the fall of 2007.

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