Northeast US Ocean Temperatures Highest on Record: Report

From Common Dreams:

Temperature spikes causing drastic shifts in ecosystem

Jacob Chamberlain

Ocean surface temperatures off the Northeast U.S. coast last year were the highest in 150 years, according to a new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Comparing measurements taken since 1854, the scientists from NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) said that sea surface temperatures between Cape Hatteras and the Canadian border, the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem, reached a record breaking average high of 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit last year.

The shifting temperatures are having a drastic impact on the under-water ecosystems of the region, the NEFSC reports, with over half of 36 fish stocks in the northwest Atlantic Ocean shifting northward in the past 40 years.

The temperature increase in 2012 alone was the highest jump in temperature ever recorded, according to the NEFSC, which analyzed data from satellite remote-sensing data and long-term ship-board measurements.

Bill Trotter at the Bangor Daily News reports that recent studies have shown a correlation between warmer waters in the Gulf of Maine and bacterial outbreaks in bivalves and in sea lice infestations; a northeasterly shift of cod in the gulf into colder waters; declining shrimp catches and a recent “glut” of soft-shell lobsters last summer “that caused a plummet in prices lobstermen were receiving for their catch.”

The NEFSC reports:

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