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Research Document - 2001/053

Physical environmental conditions in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence during 2000

By K.F. Drinkwater, R.G. Pettipas, W.M. Petrie

Abstract

Physical environmental conditions in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (Magdalen Shallows) during 2000 were examined from air temperature, sea ice and oceanographic data. Air temperatures over the southern Gulf were above normal through most of 2000, although they declined relative to 1999. The latter, however, was the warmest year on records that span back over 125 years. The warm air temperatures led to a generally light ice year. Of special note was the early disappearance of ice leading to a shorter duration of sea-ice on the Magdalen Shallows. Temperatures throughout the Shallows, in both the bottom and surface were generally warmer-than-normal. This parallels the warming of the cold intermediate waters in the Gulf during 2000. It was the first year since the mid-1980s that the CIL waters were warmer than the long-term average. It also extends the warming trend of the last several years and is well above the cold conditions experienced from 1985 to the late 1990s. The exception was the western region of the Shallows where bottom temperatures tended to be near to or below the long-term mean.

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