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Research Document - 2013/026

Physical Oceanographic Conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2012

By P.S. Galbraith, J. Chassé, P. Larouche, D. Gilbert, D. Brickman, B. Pettigrew, L. Devine, and C. Lafleur


An overview of physical oceanographic conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2012 is presented as part of the Atlantic Zonal Monitoring Program (AZMP). AZMP data as well as data from regional monitoring programs are analysed and presented in relation to long term means. August air temperature was the warmest on record at eight stations around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the warmest averaged over up to nine stations since at least 1873. Averaged over the entire year, 2012 was 3rd warmest since 1945. May-November sea-surface temperature averaged over the Gulf was second warmest after 2006. Sea ice reached a seasonal volume that was 4th lowest since 1969. The summer cold intermediate layer (CIL) volume was the lowest since at least 1985. The CIL minimum temperature index for the Gulf was the highest since 1980. At Rimouski station, the CIL minimum temperature was at a monthly record-high (since 1993) from July until the end of the sampling season in November.  Deep water temperatures and salinities are increasing overall in the Gulf. In Cabot Strait, the warmest temperature on record (since 1915) was observed at 200 m and salinity reached a record high (also since 1915) at 300 m.

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