The Coastal Packet: Report on Maine's climate change

Monday, March 23

Report on Maine's climate change

University of Maine - University of Maine faculty and collaborators have published a report addressing and analyzing the effects of climate change in Maine  ... Some of the challenges listed in the report include increasing temperatures and storms, higher ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Maine, eroding beaches and farmland, increased human cases of lyme disease and continued pressures on wildlife...

One of the most prominent outcomes of climate change noted in the report has been the overall increase of Maine’s temperature. According to studies cited in the report, since the end of the 19th Century, Maine’s average annual temperature has risen about 3 degrees F (1.7 degrees C). Current models of the global atmosphere and ocean developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), predict that Maine’s annual temperature could go up another 3-5 degrees F (1.7-2.8 degrees C) by 2050.

Additionally, Maine’s “warm season”, defined in the report at the time when the temperature is above freezing, has increased in length by two weeks. Higher temperatures and longer warm periods have affected agriculture; Maine’s maple syrup season is now arriving earlier in the year than previously, for example.

Higher temperatures make for a more hospitable environment for lyme-disease bearing ticks, while Maine staples such as moose are more vulnerable to the heat. Likewise, changes in Maine’s climate could make the state more open to foreign and invasive species.

In the Gulf of Maine, average water temperature has increased at a rate faster than most of the world. In 2012, a heat wave caused lobsters to migrate toward shore early, resulting in an overabundance of the crustaceans and a drop in their value, hurting lobster fishermen.

Winter recreation has also been affected by decreases in snowfall and higher temperatures. More than a hundred ski resorts in Maine have signed a declaration urging statewide climate action.

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