© The Author(s), 2012. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Scientific Reports 2 (2012): 553, doi:10.1038/srep00553.
Sea surface temperature imagery, satellite altimetry, and a surface drifter track reveal an unusual tilt in the Gulf Stream path that brought the Gulf Stream to 39.9°N near the Middle Atlantic Bight shelfbreak—200 km north of its mean position—in October 2011, while a large meander brought Gulf Stream water within 12 km of the shelfbreak in December 2011. Near-bottom temperature measurements from lobster traps on the outer continental shelf south of New England show distinct warming events (temperature increases exceeding 6°C) in November and December 2011. Moored profiler measurements over the continental slope show high salinities and temperatures, suggesting that the warm water on the continental shelf originated in the Gulf Stream. The combination of unusual water properties over the shelf and slope in late fall and the subsequent mild winter may affect seasonal stratification and habitat selection for marine life over the continental shelf in 2012.
Profiler data were made available by the Ocean
Observatory Initiative (OOI) during the construction phase of the project. The OOI is
funded by the National Science Foundation and managed by the Consortium for Ocean
Leadership. Drifter data were provided by Tim Shaw and David Calhoun at Cape Fear
Community College.GGGwas supported by NSFGrant OCE-1129125. RET was supported
by the Postdoctoral Scholar Program at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, with
funding provided by the Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region. MA was
supported by the Penzance Endowed Fund in Support of Assistant Scientists.
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