The Annual ICES Ocean Climate Status Summary 2000/2001
The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index continued to recover to positive values up to and including winter 2000 (winter is defined by the year of the January), though with some indication of an eastward shift in the NAO dipole pattern. The result was that most parts of the area under review showed moderate or warm conditions in 2000. Though the climatic data set for winter 2001 is not yet complete, early indications are that the NAO index has undergone a sharp return to negative conditions. Surface temperatures off West Greenland were relatively warm during the summer of 2000 due to mild atmospheric conditions. Stronger inflows of polar water were noted.
Ocean conditions in the Northwest Atlantic cooled slightly during 2000 relative to 1999 values, but were near or above normal in most areas. Sea-ice extent also increased slightly over the light ice conditions of 1999. An increased southward transport of polar waters was noted on the Labrador shelf. The surface waters of the Labrador Sea were observed to be slightly cooler, fresher and denser in the summer of 2000 compared to 1999. More convection and overturning took place in the Labrador Sea during the 2000 winter than in recent years, but not as intense as during the early 1990s.