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Auke Bay Laboratories (ABL)

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Apr-May-June 2008
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Marine Salmon Interactions Program

Southeast Alaska Coastal Monitoring

Two cruises for the Southeast Alaska Coastal Monitoring (SECM) project were complete this quarter. The 22-26 May 2008 SECM cruise was successfully completed with minimal complications. Three transects (Icy Point, Icy Strait, and Upper Chatham Strait), the Auke Bay Monitor Station (ABM), and an opportunistic False Point Retreat Station were occupied by the John N. Cobb. We now have 12 years of quantitative zooplankton samples for the Auke Bay Monitor Station, Upper Chatham Strait Transect, and Icy Strait Transect. The Icy Point Transect has been more difficult to maintain. This is the first time in several years that weather conditions have permitted the John N. Cobb to work offshore in May. The project chartered the M/V Steller for the 17-20 June 2008 cruise. Only ABM, the Upper Chatham transect, and the Icy Strait transect stations were occupied. A manuscript summarizing the results of zooplankton sampling for the 12 years of the SECM project was initiated late in this quarter. The manuscript will be coauthored with staff from the ABLís Marine Salmon Interactions Program staff.

Environmental Monitoring at Auke Bay

Winter and spring 2008 in Auke Bay, Alaska, were cooler and drier than average (Table 1 below). May and June were noticeably drier than average; May had a brief period of warm weather. June had only 3 days with less than 50% overcast. Daily air temperatures in June were generally well below average. Sea surface temperatures have been below average all winter and spring.

April and June were especially cold and were comparable to temperatures observed in the early 1960s. The June sea surface temperatures were nearly 1.3°C below the recent 8-year average and 0.8°C below the long-term average. These cool water temperatures may be contributing to the abundance of capelin in the Juneau area reported by field biologists. Capelin are northern forage fish that are favored by cold conditions.

By Bruce Wing

Table 1.  Monthly environmental data for Auke Bay, Alaska, 2008, compared to long-term means.
  Precipitation (inches)   Mid-range Air Temperature (°F)
  2008 Mean Anomaly   2008 Mean Anomaly
January 4.70   4.75   -0.05   January 26.52   26.18   0.34  
Frebruary 3.87   3.83   0.04   Frebruary 27.84   30.27   -2.43  
March 3.25   3.39   -0.14   March 36.00   34.58   1.42  
April 4.85   2.93   1.92   April 39.27   41.37   -2.10  
May 2.53   3.82   -1.29   May 49.27   46.77   2.50  
June 2.66   4.11   -1.45   June 52.40   55.06   -2.66  
  Snowfall (inches) Sea Surface Temperature (°C)
  2008 Mean Anomaly   2008 Mean Anomaly
January 23.80   27.41   -3.61   January 3.20   3.64   -0.44  
Frebruary 38.60   17.46   21.14   Frebruary 2.90   3.32   -0.42  
March 12.30   11.55   0.75   March 3.40   3.81   -0.41  
April 9.70   2.19   7.51   April 5.10   6.25   -1.15  
May 0.00   0.04   -0.04   May 9.90   10.07   -0.17  
June 0.00   0.00   0.00   June 12.70   13.54   -0.84  

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