Monday, October 26, 2015

Climate Change and the Gulf of Maine, Parts 1 & 2

For the past ten years, the Gulf of Maine has warmed more rapidly than anyplace else in the world's oceans, save for a section of the Kuroshio Current northeast of Japan, with 2012 the hottest year on record since observations began in the Civil War era. The effects have been manifold and sobering, particularly when you consider that even at the more gradual projected warming rates, 2012-like conditions will be the "new normal" by mid-century.

For the past few months, I've been at work on a multi-part series on this issue for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, where I'm a staff writer. The resulting series -- seven stories over six days reported from across the region -- kicked off in this week's Telegram.

The first story provides the overview, along with a sidebar on how, under outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canadian officials interfered with my attempts to communicate with government scientists there about their research.

Today's story -- Part 2 of 6 -- is on concerns over how warming will effect the sort-of "krill of the gulf", a copepod species that most everything else int he food chain ultimately depends on. Puffins and right whales are among our canaries.

"Mayday" has its own landing page where the additional stories will be posted as they come out.

Readers of the series may also be interested in my first two books, Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas (which looks at the global crisis) and The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier (a cultural and environmental history of coastal Maine.)

I'll be speaking on Ocean's End at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, Maine November 19th.

[Update, 11/20/17: Two years later, the state has done very little to address the problem.]

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