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Current Conditions of the Northeast U.S. Shelf Ecosystem

May 24, 2021

A current summary of temperature, salinity, chlorophyll and other conditions on the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf.

Current Conditions

The Current Conditions is a biannual report on ecosystem and fisheries indicators for the Northeast U.S. continental shelf ecosystem. The report includes measurements of temperature and salinity indicators of seasonal warming and cooling patterns. Indicators describing phytoplankton distribution and blooms are derived from satellite remote sensing data. Upper trophic level indicators of fish and macroinvertebrate habitat and distribution dynamics are based on the Northeast Fisheries Science Center bottom trawl surveys.

Current Report Summary

  • During the last half of 2020, sea surface temperatures in the Northeast U.S. Shelf Ecosystem continued to be above average following a shift in thermal conditions that began around 2010. 
  • Fall phytoplankton blooms were generally below average and it is questionable whether a fall bloom developed in any part of the ecosystem
  • The fall thermal transition continues to shift to progressively later on the year, raising concern over the timing of production cycles in the food web.

See the complete report.

Previous Reports

Fall 20202019
(reporting on the first six months of the year)

Spring 20202019
(reporting on the last six months of the previous year)

Archived Reports (2006-2018)


Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on 05/24/2021