Science Advisory Report 2013/057
Oceanographic conditions in the Atlantic zone in 2012
- Sea-surface temperatures were at record or near-record highs during ice-free months across the zone, most notably on the Scotian Shelf and southern areas of Newfoundland.
- Sea ice volume remained very low in the Gulf of St. Lawrence but rebounded somewhat in the Newfoundland–Labrador (NL) Shelf where it was nevertheless still the 8th lowest of the series.
- In the Gulf of St. Lawrence the Cold Intermediate Layer (CIL) temperature index, CIL volume and the southern Gulf bottom area covered by cold water were at record warm levels, the Scotian Shelf CIL volume was at a record low and on the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves the Bonavista and White Bay CIL cross-sectional area was below-normal while the Southern Labrador and Grand Bank CIL areas were near-normal.
- Bottom temperatures were generally above-normal across the zone, with record highs recorded in the northern Gulf as well as on the Scotian Shelf. Spring bottom temperatures in Division 3Ps on the southern Newfoundland Shelf were identical to the previous year both the highest since 1984.
- Nitrate inventories in both surface and near bottom waters were generally near the long-term average in the Gulf of St. Lawrence but remained below normal on the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf.
- Since 2010, phytoplankton abundance has been near or below the long-term average throughout much of the Atlantic Zone, although overall abundance has been strongly below normal across much of the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf in 2011 and 2012.
- The overall abundance of zooplankton was below average throughout most of the Atlantic Zone, although some groups (e.g. non-copepod zooplankton) demonstrated remarkably high abundance levels in some areas (e.g. Grand Banks) in 2012 and over much of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2011.
This Science Advisory Report is from the March 18-21, 2013 Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program (AZMP). Additional publications from this meeting will be posted on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Science Advisory Schedule as they become available.
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