Seasonal and Interannual Variability in Gulf of Maine Hydrodynamics: 2002-2011. Academic Article uri icon


  • In situ observations including long-term moored meteorological and oceanographic measurements and multi-year gulf-wide ship survey data are used to quantify interannual variability of surface wind, river runoff, and hydrographic conditions in the Gulf of Maine during summers 2002-2011. The cumulative upwelling index shows that upwelling (downwelling)-favorable wind conditions were most persistent in 2010 (2005) over the 10-year study period. River discharge was highest in 2005; peak runoff occurred in early April in 2010 as opposed to late April to middle May in other years. Moored time series show that coastal water temperature was 0.5-2 °C warmer than average in summer 2010, and about 2 °C colder than average in 2004. Coastal salinity in April 2010 was the lowest in the 10-year study period. Both moored Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) current measurements and dynamic height/geostrophic velocity calculations based on gulf-wide ship survey data show May-June 2010 had one of the weakest alongshore transports in the western Gulf of Maine during the 10-year study period, likely associated with intrusions of warm slope water and fresher-than-usual Scotian Shelf water. Comparisons of coastal currents to the Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) closure maps resulting from A. fundyense blooms suggest a linkage between alongshore transport and the downstream extent of toxicity.

publication date

  • May 2014