Sea surface temperature sets a new record high

ELLSWORTH — Sea surface temperatures in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem during 2012 were the highest recorded in 150 years, according to the latest Ecosystem Advisory issued by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA.)

The high sea surface temperatures are the latest in a continued upward trend of above average temperatures seen during the spring and summer seasons. They are part of a pattern of higher temperatures seen in the Northwest Atlantic over the past century but not elsewhere in the ocean basin.

The Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) extends from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The NEFSC has monitored this ecosystem with comprehensive sampling programs since 1977. Prior to 1977, this ecosystem was monitored by the NEFSC through a series of separate, coordinated programs dating back decades.

Sea surface temperature for the Northeast Shelf Ecosystem reached a record high of 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius) in 2012, exceeding the previous record high in 1951. The average temperature typically has been lower than 54.3 F. (12.4 C.) over the past three decades.

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Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]