NAFO Sci. Coun. Studies, 12:57-69
Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Physical and Chemical Sciences Branch
Bedford Institute of Oceanography, P. O. Box 1006
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada B2Y 4A2
Archived oceanographic data were analyzed in order to describe the variability of environmental conditions on the Labrador and Northeast Newfoundland shelves in 1978-86. The focus of this analysis is primarily on the temperature distribution but moored temperature observations from Hamilton Bank, temperature observations at Station 27, ice coverage, and the cross-sectional area of the cold intermediate layer (CIL), defined as water <0º C, are also discussed. The long-term monthly average temperature distributions across Hamilton Bank and along the Bonavista Section, based on the data archived at the Marine Environmental Data Service, Ottawa, are presented. The summertime temperatures from the Hamilton Bank, White Bay, Bonavista and 47º N sections are discussed with reference to long-term averages. In addition, the variation in ice coverage and cross-sectional area of CIL from the four standard sections are described. Correlation analysis indicates generally coherent behaviour of these environmental indices, implying that the spatial scales of variability on the shelves are large. A summary of the 1984-86 environmental conditions is presented along with a ranking of each variable relative to the longest time series available.