Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




WATER WORLD
Sea Surface Temperatures Reach Record Highs on Northeast Continental Shelf
by Staff Writers
Woods Hole MA (SPX) Sep 20, 2012


File image.

During the first six months of 2012, sea surface temperatures in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem were the highest ever recorded, according to the latest Ecosystem Advisory issued by NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC).

Above-average temperatures were found in all parts of the ecosystem, from the ocean bottom to the sea surface and across the region, and the above average temperatures extended beyond the shelf break front to the Gulf Stream.

The annual 2012 spring plankton bloom was intense, started earlier and lasted longer than average. This has implications for marine life from the smallest creatures to the largest marine mammals like whales. Atlantic cod continued to shift northeastward from its historic distribution center.

The Northeast US Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) extends from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The NEFSC has monitored this ecosystem with comprehensive sampling programs from 1977 onward; prior to 1977, this ecosystem was also monitored by the NEFSC through a series of separate but coordinated programs dating back decades.

"A pronounced warming event occurred on the Northeast Shelf this spring, and this will have a profound impact throughout the ecosystem," said Kevin Friedland, a scientist in the NEFSC's Ecosystem Assessment Program.

"Changes in ocean temperatures and the timing of the spring plankton bloom could affect the biological clocks of many marine species, which spawn at specific times of the year based on environmental cues like water temperature."

Friedland said the average sea surface temperature (SST) exceeded 10.5 degrees C (51F) during the first half of 2012, exceeding the previous record high in 1951.

Average SST has typically been lower than 9 degrees C (48F) over the past three decades. Sea surface temperature in the region is based on both contemporary satellite remote-sensing data and long-term ship-board measurements, with historical SST conditions based on ship-board measurements dating back to 1854.

In some nearshore locations like Delaware and Chesapeake Bays in the Middle Atlantic Bight region, temperatures were more than 6 degrees C (11F) above historical average at the surface and more than 5 degrees C (9F) above average at the bottom.

In deeper offshore waters to the north, bottom waters were 1 degree C (2F) warmer in the eastern Gulf of Maine and greater than 2 degrees C (3.6F) warmer in the western Gulf of Maine.

Ocean bottom temperature data cited in the advisory came from a variety of sources, including eMOLT, a cooperative research program between the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and lobstermen who deploy temperature probes attached to lobster traps.

While some of the temperature probes from the eMOLT program are still in the water and have not yet been returned, those that have been returned indicate that bottom water temperatures in 2012 were the warmest since the eMOLT program began in 2001.

Atlantic cod distribution in the Gulf of Maine continues a northeasterly shift, with the spring 2012 data consistent with a response to ecosystem warming. Warming ocean temperatures and the resulting impact on the distribution of 36 fish stocks was reported by the Center in a 2009 study published in Marine Ecology Progress Series.

That study analyzed annual NEFSC spring survey data from 1968 to 2007 and other information and found that about half of the 36 fish stocks studied in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, many of them commercially valuable species, have been shifting northward over the past four decades, with some disappearing from US waters as they move farther offshore.

Friedland notes that although cod didn't shift as much as other species like hake in the 2009 study, the effects of warming water on ocean currents and other ocean circulation patterns could change that.

"Cod distribution continues to be dynamic, with northerly shifts detected in the spring 2012 data, consistent with a response to ecosystem warming," Friedland said. "The big question is whether or not these changes will continue, or are they a short-term anomaly?"

Mike Fogarty, who heads the Ecosystem Assessment Program, says the abundance of cod and other finfish is controlled by a complex set of factors, and that increasing temperatures in the ecosystem make it essential to monitor the distribution of many species, some of them migratory and others not.

"A complex combination of factors influence ocean conditions, and it isn't always easy to understand the big picture when you are looking at one specific part of it at one specific point in time, "Fogarty said, a comparison similar to not seeing the forest when looking at a single tree in it.

"We now have information from a variety of sources collected over a long period of time on the ecosystem, and are continually adding more data to clarify specific details. The data clearly show a relationship between all of these factors."

The 2012 spring plankton bloom, one of the longest duration and most intense in recent history, started at the earliest date recorded since the ocean color remote sensing data series began in 1998.

In some locations, the spring bloom began in February, and was fully developed by March in all areas except Georges Bank, which had an average although variable spring bloom. The 2012 spring bloom in the Gulf of Maine began in early March, the earliest recorded bloom in that area.

"What this early start means for the Northeast Shelf ecosystem and its marine life is unknown," Fogarty said. "What is known is that things are changing, and we need to continue monitoring and adapting to these changes."

Intensive surveys of environmental conditions on the Northeast Shelf from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to Nova Scotia were conducted from 1977 to 1987 as part of the Marine Resources Monitoring, Assessment and Prediction (MARMAP) program. The efforts continued at reduced levels through the 1990s and are ongoing today as part of the Center's Ecosystems Monitoring (EcoMon) program.

Plankton samples are collected six times a year in each of the four subareas of the Northeast Shelf: the Middle Atlantic Bight, Southern New England, Georges Bank, and the Gulf of Maine.

EcoMon scientists also collect water samples and other oceanographic data about conditions during each season in each of the four areas to provide a long-term view of changing conditions on the Shelf.

The Spring 2012 Ecosystem Advisory with supporting information is available online.

.


Related Links
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
Super-trawler company to fight Australian ban
Sydney (AFP) Sept 19, 2012
A company which wants to operate a super-trawler in Australian waters vowed on Wednesday to fight an environmental ban set to be imposed by the government on the giant vessel. Parliament Wednesday passed legislation which could prevent the 9,500-tonne, 143-metre (469-foot) Abel Tasman from operating in Australian waters until more scientific research is completed, a process which could take ... read more


WATER WORLD
Protection for Moon, Mars astronauts eyed

Russia to start research base on the Moon

Remains of astronaut legend Neil Armstrong buried at sea

Memorial service honors 'man on the moon' Armstrong

WATER WORLD
NASA Mars Rover Targets Unusual Rock En Route to First Destination

Dark Bands Run Through Light Layers

NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Looks at Ground Ahead, Moons Above

'Jake Matijevic' Contact Target for Curiosity

WATER WORLD
Cavenauts return to Earth

Brazil unveils tax incentives to boost tech innovation

New Technology Being Stymied by Copyright Law

Boeing Establishes Configuration of Commercial Crew Transportation

WATER WORLD
Tiangong Orbit Change Signals Likely Date for Shenzhou 10

China Focus: Timeline for China's space research revealed

China eyes next lunar landing as US scales back

China unveils ambitious space projects

WATER WORLD
Crew Members Prepare for Departure

ISS Crew Lands Safely in Kazakhstan

ISS Crew Enjoys Light Duty Day

Europe's ATV-3 Spacecraft to Readjust Space Station's Orbit

WATER WORLD
Fueling underway with the Galileo satellites for next Soyuz launch from French Guiana

SpaceX, NASA Target Oct. 7 Launch For Resupply Mission To Space Station

Failure Review Oversight Board Establishes Proton Return to Flight Schedule

HISPASAT chooses Arianespace to launch its Amazonas 4A and AG1 satellites

WATER WORLD
Meteors Might Add Methane to Exoplanet Atmospheres

Two 'hot Jupiters' found in star cluster: NASA

Planets Can Form in the Galactic Center

Birth of a planet

WATER WORLD
iPhone 5 rollout draws big crowds worldwide

Using a laser to 'see' the smallest world

YouTube seeking education video 'gurus'

Angling for gold




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement