Recent accelerated warming of the continental shelf off New Jersey : observations from the CMV Oleander expendable bathythermograph line
Forsyth, Jacob S. T.
Gawarkiewicz, Glen G.
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KeywordOleander; Ocean heat content; Expendable bathythermograph; Shelfbreak front; Sea level; Middle Atlantic Bight
Expendable bathythermographs (XBTs) have been launched along a repeat track from New Jersey to Bermuda from the CMV Oleander through the NOAA/NEFSC Ship of Opportunity Program about 14 times per year since 1977. The XBT temperatures on the Middle Atlantic Bight shelf are binned with 10 km horizontal and 5 m vertical resolution to produce monthly, seasonally, and annually averaged cross-shelf temperature sections. The depth-averaged shelf temperature, Ts, calculated from annually averaged sections that are spatially averaged across the shelf, increases at 0.026 ± 0.001°C yr−1 from 1977 to 2013, with the recent trend substantially larger than the overall 37 year trend (0.11 ± 0.02°C yr−1 since 2002). The Oleander temperature sections suggest that the recent acceleration in warming on the shelf is not confined to the surface, but occurs throughout the water column with some contribution from interactions between the shelf and the adjacent Slope Sea reflected in cross-shelf motions of the shelfbreak front. The local warming on the shelf cannot explain the region's amplified rate of sea level rise relative to the global mean. Additionally, Ts exhibits significant interannual variability with the warmest anomalies increasing in intensity over the 37 year record even as the cold anomalies remain relatively uniform throughout the record. Ts anomalies are not correlated with annually averaged coastal sea level anomalies at zero lag. However, positive correlation is found between 2 year lagged Ts anomalies and coastal sea level anomalies, suggesting that the region's sea level anomalies may serve as a predictor of shelf temperature.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2015. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 120 (2015): 2370-2384, doi:10.1002/2014JC010516.
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