The Coastal Packet: What Maine's climate change looks like

Friday, June 2

What Maine's climate change looks like

Sun Journal - From a rise in the number of ticks to the decline in the number of northern shrimp offshore, the state is seeing the consequences of an increase in the average annual temperature by 3 degrees since 1895.

The frequency of extreme weather events, from ice storms to torrential rains, has been increasing and will likely to become even more common as the world heats up further, scientists warn.

The accompanying rise in ocean levels, caused by melting glaciers, means that salt marshes are in trouble, flood zones are growing and agricultural zones shifting.

“Maine is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, where our environment and economy are so closely linked,” said Lisa Pohlmann, the Natural Resources Council of Maine’s executive director.

A 2015 study by the Climate Change Institute and Maine Sea Grant at the University of Maine that updated an earlier state report on the issue lays out a troubling scenario for a state that depends heavily on tourism, recreation, logging, farming and fishing — all of which are likely to feel the pinch if scientific projections of what’s to come prove prescient.

Already, though, historical data shows warming trends.

For instance, information from the U.S. Climate Divisional Dataset cited by the University of Maine study shows the state’s warm weather season is two weeks longer now than it was a century ago. It’s 34 weeks now, records indicate, compared to 32 in the two decades leading up to World War I.

By mid-century, the study projects the warm weather season, when temperatures are always above freezing, will last 36 weeks.

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