The Coastal Packet: Gulf of Maine warming faster than nearly anywhere else

Monday, November 2

Gulf of Maine warming faster than nearly anywhere else

From an important six part series by Colin Woodard. 

Colin Woodard, Press Herald  - The Gulf of Maine has been warming at a rate faster than nearly anywhere else on the planet, and water temperatures in 2012 were the highest in the century and a half that readings have been collected. The impacts, including the retreat of native species, the spread of invaders from more southern climes, and the acidification of seawater, have been substantial and are expected to be more so in the future, as long-term warming trends make 2012-like temperatures the “new normal” by mid-century.

Experts say there’s little that Maine or New England can do by itself to address the underlying issue: the continued warming of the Earth because of greenhouse gas emissions from factories, cars, power plants, livestock feedlots and other human activities. Maine produces just 0.32 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which works out to about .05 percent of those in the world.
But Mainers could mitigate the damage by shoring up the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, reducing other stresses we can control and learning ways to protect resources from some of the worst effects.

“We have to pay attention to the factors we can exert some control over and try to identify ones that would produce the best possible return, the best bang for your buck,” says Katherine Mills, a fisheries ecologist at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, who has studied the effect of warming sea temperatures on salmon and other species.


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