Air Temperature

Northeast ecosystem component


Air temperatures in the Northeast US are warming more slowly than sea-surface temperatures (SST), with regional long-term trends in air temperature increasing with latitude. Air-sea heat exchange is the dominant factor driving interannual variability of Northeast US SST in the spring1. Summer SSTs are not related to air temperature and are more strongly associated with ocean dynamics. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and east Pacific/North Pacific (EP/NP) patterns are strongly correlated with air temperature anomalies across the U.S., including the northeast, and this relationship has been getting stronger since the 1950s1,2. Air temperature is also the primary driver of river and estuarine temperature variability throughout most of the year.

Air temperature anomaly across the US during June 2018.
Air temperature anomalies across the US during June 2018. Areas in red experienced temperatures higher than the 1981-2010 mean, while areas in blue saw lower temperatures. These data are available from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

Next component

    1. 1. Chen, K., Kwon, Y. 2018. Does Pacific variability influence the Northwest Atlantic Shelf temperature? Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, doi 10.1002/2017JC013414.

    2. 2. Schulte, J., S. Lee, 2017: Strengthening North Pacific influences on United States temperature variability. Sci. Rep. 7(124), doi 10.1038/s41598-017-00175-y.

    3. 3. Schulte, J.A., Georgas, N., Saba, V.S., Howell, P. 2018. North Pacific influences on Long Island Sound temperature variability. Journal of Climate, 31: 2745-2769.