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Research Document - 2002/023

Physical Oceanographic conditions on the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves during 2001

By E. Colbourne

Abstract

Oceanographic observations from Nain Bank on the central Labrador Shelf to the Southern Grand Bank on the Newfoundland Shelf during 2001 are presented referenced to their long-term (1971-2000) means. The annual water column averaged temperature at Station 27 during 2001 warmed slightly compared to 2000 remaining above the long-term mean. Surface temperatures were above normal for 9 out of 12 months with anomalies reaching a maximum of near 1.6oC in October. Bottom temperatures at Station 27 were above normal (by  approx. 0.5oC) during all 12 months of the year. Water column averaged summer salinities at Station 27 decreased to below normal values over the near-normal conditions of 2000. The cross-sectional area of sub-zero oC (CIL) water on the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves during the summer of 2001 decreased over 2000 values, except on the Grand Bank where there was a slight increase. Off Bonavista the CIL area decreased to the lowest value observed since 1978. Bottom temperatures on the Grand Banks during the spring of 2001 were generally above normal (by up to 0.5oC) over most areas, except the southeast shoal of the Grand Bank where temperatures were slightly below normal. During the fall bottom, temperatures were above normal on the northern Grand Bank (Div. 3L) and in Divs. 2J and 3K. In general, over all areas of the Newfoundland Shelf the near-bottom thermal habitat continued to be warmer than that experienced from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. In summary, during 2000 and 2001 ocean temperatures were cooler than 1999 values, but remained above normal over most areas continuing the warm trend established in 1996. Salinities during 2001 were generally fresher-than-normal in the inshore regions continuing the trend observed during most of the 1990s.

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