Water temperatures and heat contents

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Water temperatures and heat contents


Variation of the Monthly Mean Seasurfacetemperatures- and -salinities at Helgoland-Reede

Monthly Mean SST / SSS Charts at Helgoland - Reede

Along with the time-series Den Helder (Netherlands), the t/s Helgoland-Reede represents one of the longest and most complete series on the European shelf. The first measurements were taken in the 1870s by the then Biologische Anstalt Helgoland (now AWI) and have been continued to this day (Wiltshire et al., 2004). Any data gaps encountered in particular due to WW I and II were successfully closed using measurements taken by nearby light vessels (Becker et al., 1997); thus, the Helgoland time series provides us with a constant record of temperature and salinity levels in the south-eastern North Sea covering a period of 140 years.

Starting in 1873, the monthly mean sea surface temperatures and salinity levels were recorded for each year. The individual charts show the high variability of parameters over the year caused by meteorological changes, tides, and runoff from the river Elbe. The climatological mean - from 1873 up to the closed prior year - including standard deviation, underscores the notably high variability encountered in the German Bight.

Monthly Means

Animation (animated gif-file)


  • Becker G.A., A.Frohse, P.Damm, The northwest European shelf temperature and salinity variability, Dt. Hydrogr. Z., 49, No.2/3, 145-161, 1997.
  • Franke H-D, Buchholz F, Wiltshire KH (2004) Ecological long-term research at Helgoland (German Bight, North Sea): retrospect and prospect - an introduction. Helgol Mar Res 58, PANGAEA 2004.
  • Wiltshire & Manly Helgol Mar Res 58 (2004).

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