To view the new layers, open the Marine Mammals & Sea Turtles theme map or select the Marine Mammals & Sea Turtles category in the Data Explorer.
Updated North Atlantic Right Whale Layers
The new North Atlantic right whale new model density maps summarize the era 2010-2018, reflecting the apparent major shift in right whale distributions around 2010. This 2010-2018 era is the recommended density surface for management decisions. For comparison, results were also summarized for two additional eras, 2003-2009 and 2003-2018. These other results are available for download from the model history page.
Model resolution was increased to 5km X 5km grid cells, while the prediction units remain the number of animals/100km2. Summary products for groups that include North Atlantic right whales remain at standard 10km X 10km grid cell resolution. In addition to updating the methods for modeling the density predictions and uncertainty products, the following additional changes were made to the right whale models:
- Updated density predictions for Cape Cod Bay for January-May use estimates from Ganley et al. (2019). Predictions for the month of December use all surveys conducted by the Center for Coastal Studies during the month of December from 2003-2020.
- Additional survey data were added, and the aggregate database of surveys now extends through spring of 2019.
- The study area was extended farther inshore in certain bays and estuaries, per NOAA’s request.
Users may notice that some of the North Atlantic right whale monthly layers contain linear patterns extending from Nantucket Shoals out to the shelf break. This pattern is the result of the boundary between model domains that was used to best represent right whale numbers north and south of Nantucket. As noted in the model documentation, this is an area where right whale densities have been changing in recent years and so caution should be used when interpreting predicted density values near this boundary. For questions regarding model interpretation in this area or in general, contact Jason Roberts at Duke MGEL (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Model Results for North Atlantic Right Whale Density (Monthly)