Rain Rain Go Away

Below is a post provided by our Federal Partners at NOAA.  The NEFSC Behavioral Ecology Branch in Sandy Hook, NJ has been sampling the ocean off Northern New Jersey before and after Hurricane Irene.  The post below was submitted by Dr. John Manderson after an early morning sampling run.

Where on earth did the ocean go? Or what is the estuary doing in the ocean?

The upwelling area off Tuckerton is very well sampled by Rutgers Robot gliders. But the ocean off the mouth of Hudson Raritan Estuary is also interesting. This morning the NOAA ECOS program which operates out of Sandy Hook measured hydrography and took some samples for nutrients off the mouth of the Hudson River.

Our plan was to do 20 stations to the Hudson Shelf Valley which we mapped out early this morning on the Stevens NYHOPS.  We know NYHOPS is good but we thought “there is no way the salinities in the ocean are that low”.  Actually the salinities were lower.  We got to many of the stations and had some data collected August 17 on a similar transect with which we could compare.

As background, below are some of the meteorological data measured at the Ambrose buoy (NOAA buoy 44065) just off the mouth of the Hudson Raritan estuary. The red lines in the two panels show August 12, the last date ECOS sampled the New Jersey transect, and today, September 2. The dips in atmospheric pressure and seawater temperature, and increases in wave height and winds speed associated with the passage of IRENE are clearly visible in the plots

Below are the locations of ECOS plankton sampling stations on Aug 17 superimposed on the MARACOOS NHOPs model output for Salinity.  We took water column profiles at these 5 and an additional 13 stations that day.

Here are the temperature and salinity combinations for today and for August 17.  The colors indicate chlorophyll values were as high as 20 mg liter today (This could be chlorophyll as well as other colored organic matter).  The symbols are sized by depth.  Salinity in the upper few meters of the water column was <21 PSU all the way out to the Hudson shelf valley.  NOAA is not sure their CTD probe which measures water column properties reached the bottom today because of extremely high bottom current velocities.

The mode of surface salinity today was ~21 PSU which is lower than we often measured relatively high up in the estuarine tributaries during the summer.Finally here are the oxygen and chlorophyll values measured on Aug 17 and Sept 2 along the transect.  The chlorophyll values are pretty extreme today and minimum dissolved oxygen measurements are lower than in August but still above 3 mg per liters (dotted red line).

NOAA ECOS will continue sampling next week using acoustic instruments as well as CTD probes.  These instruments will allow us to monitor the effects of Irene and the summer bloom on the distribution of various sizes of organisms, as well as water column properties in the coastal ocean outside the mouth of the Hudson River.

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