Sea surface temperatures from southern Nova Scotia to northern Newfoundland reflected this summer’s heat wave in Atlantic Canada.
According to data from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, in much of the region, ocean temperatures at the surface last month were two to three degrees higher than the 20-year average.
“It’s getting up to the largest anomalies that we’ve seen for the 20-year record that we have,” said Dave Hebert, a research scientist with DFO.
A chilly June meant the surface temperature was cooler than average that month.
But that changed with heat waves in July and August. Nova Scotia saw 53 days with air temperatures 25 C or higher.
“What we are seeing is the sea surface temperatures really mimicking our weather,” said Hebert.
“The [surface] temperature is progressively getting warmer and warmer, and also the warm area has been moving northward from the Gulf of Maine to the Scotian Shelf to the Newfoundland Shelf.”
Over a two-month period, DFO maps show dark red blobs gradually engulfing the Atlantic Ocean surrounding the region.
“What’s amazing is you can see the progression. It’s now all the way over to Newfoundland,” he said.
As measured by satellite, much of Nova Scotia’s south shore, Cape Breton, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and into the Cabot Strait averaged 20 C on the surface in the second half of August.