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Interannual Variability of the Mid?Atlantic Bight Cold Pool

The Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) Cold Pool is a bottom-trapped, cold (temperature below 10°C) and fresh (practical salinity below 34) water mass that is isolated from the surface by the seasonal thermocline and is located over the midshelf and outer shelf of the MAB. The interannual variability of the Cold Pool with regard to its persistence time, volume, temperature, and seasonal along-shelf propagation is investigated based on a long-term (1958–2007) high-resolution regional model of the northwest Atlantic Ocean. A Cold Pool Index is defined and computed in order to quantify the strength of the Cold Pool on the interannual timescale. Anomalous strong, weak, and normal years are categorized and compared based on the Cold Pool Index. A detailed quantitative study of the volume-averaged heat budget of the Cold Pool region (CPR) has been examined on the interannual timescale. Results suggest that the initial temperature and abnormal warming/cooling due to advection are the primary drivers in the interannual variability of the near-bottom CPR temperature anomaly during stratified seasons. The long persistence of temperature anomalies from winter to summer in the CPR also suggests a potential for seasonal predictability.

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