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Volume 7 Number 1.p65 - PICES

Volume 7 Number 1.p65 - PICES

Volume 7 Number 1.p65 -

The state of the eastern North Pacific since February 1998by Howard J. Freeland, Frank A. Whitney and William R. CrawfordAt the Science Board Symposium of the PICES VII inFairbanks, Alaska, reports were presented on observationsof the rise and demise of the 1997/98 El Niño event in theN.E. Pacific. The changes in the physical and chemicalenvironment were described by Bob Smith (T, S andvelocity off Oregon), William Crawford (sea-level offBritish Columbia, presented by Mike Foreman), HowardFreeland (T, S and velocity off B.C.), Frank Whitney(nutrients off B.C.) and Thomas Royer (T, S and velocityoff Alaska). The highlight was the large degree of internalconsistency that arose from the various El Niño Watchprograms, and the intriguing picture of nutrient depletionin the Gulf of Alaska.It is now evident that the 1997/98 El Niño event reachedits peak of influence in the N.E. Pacific during February1998. Figure 1 shows the distribution of sea-surfacetemperature in the N.E. Pacific derived from the so-calledReynolds data sets. The solid line on Figure 1 indicatesthe approximate location of Line-P. A survey along Line-P was completed mid- to late February, and the structureof the temperature anomalies along Line-P is shown inFigure 2. Clearly these are not in perfect agreement.Figure 2 shows surface anomalies approaching zero frompositive values in the offshore regions, and Figure 1 showsslightly negative anomalies in the same region. In fact,these differences are not surprising. The mean statedefining Figure 1 includes data only from 1982 to present,and for Figure 2, data from 1956 to present. However,there is clearly broad general agreement in the patternsand magnitudes of variation.Fig. 1Sea surface temperature anomaly in the N.E. Pacificduring February 1998, using the Reynolds data-set.Fig. 2 Temperature anomaly along Line-P duringFebruary 1998.Fig. 3Sea surface temperature anomaly in the N.E. Pacificduring June 1998, using the Reynolds data-set.Fig. 4Temperature anomaly along Line-P during June1998.9

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