Warmer ocean temperatures are continuing in Canada's Atlantic Ocean zones, according to the latest report on 2013 oceanographic conditions released by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The federal department began a program to monitor the marine ecosystem in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Scotian Shelf and Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf in 1998.
“Sea-surface temperatures reached record values across the zone in summer 2012, remaining generally above normal in 2013 with record September values on the Grand Banks," according the to the report.
Scientists used 39 measures including ice, surface and bottom temperatures. Of these, seven were within normal values and 32 were above normal.
Almost no sea ice made it to the Scotian Shelf off Nova Scotia for the fourth consecutive winter, while ice was near normal on the Newfoundland and Labrador shelves.
"Bottom temperatures were above normal across almost the entire zone with record highs recorded in the deeper waters of the northern Gulf associated with a warm anomaly first observed in Cabot Strait in 2010."
The report notes a number of uncertainties surrounding Fisheries and Oceans Canada samplings, especially the ability to capture the onset of the spring bloom of phytoplankton, the tiny organisms that make up the bottom of the food chain.
"Additionally, reductions in vessel scheduling within regions have also reduced the number of full observations at some sites,” reads the document.