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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 first half of 2021, sea surface temperatures in the Northeast U.S. continental shelf ecosystem continued to be above average and were the second highest recorded over the long-term time series. This follows a shift in thermal conditions that began around 2010. 
  • Spring phytoplankton blooms did not form in either the Gulf of Maine or Georges Bank regions in 2021. Chlorophyll concentrations were generally below average throughout the ecosystem.
  • With continued warming in the ecosystem, the spring thermal transition has trended to occur earlier in recent years.

See the complete report.

Previous Reports

Fall 202120202019
(reporting on the first six months of the year)

Spring 202120202019
(reporting on the last six months of the previous year)

Archived Reports (2006-2018)


Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on 11/15/2021