Improving oceanographic models of bottom temperature within the Mid-Atlantic Bight

Project lead: Samir Patel

Funded by: NOAA Saltonstall-Kennedy Program

The Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) shelf waters located between Long Island, NY and Cape Hatteras, NC, are a particularly valuable region for fisheries. However, recent climate models have identified that this region is expected to warm at a rate three times faster than the global average. There is a unique ecosystem withing the MAB, a seasonal Cold Pool that becomes defined in May due to surface warming trapping winter water below 30m depth. CFF is mapping the seasonality and geographic range of the seasonal Cold Pool water mass in the Mid-Atlantic and its effect on relevant fisheries. Specifically, we are incorporating several years of temperature data accrued from CFF’s animal-borne sensors (comprised of over 10,000 temperature-depth profiles of the entire water column) as well as autonomous ocean gliders, commercial fishing gear, and trawl surveys to improve numerical modeling of the Cold Pool. Once this database is constructed, the calibrated data is assimilated into existing MAB coastal ocean models used in the historical hindcast, contemporary nowcast, and future forecast modes. In each case, the spatial extent of the modelled Cold Pool is being more clearly defined.

Turtle temps.jpg

Daily bin of all recorded surface and bottom temperatures from  loggerhead bottom dives between the 30 and 70 m isobaths.