2013-05-16 / News

Temps of Northeast Atlantic hit record high

Sea-surface temperatures of the large-marine ecosystem in the Northeast U.S. Shelf last year were the highest recorded in 150 years, according to the latest advisory issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The area extends from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras, N.C.

The high temperatures are the latest in a trend of above-average temps seen during the spring and summer. It is part of a pattern of elevated temps occurring in the Northwest Atlantic. It has not been seen elsewhere in the ocean basin over the past century.

Sea-surface temperatures in the Northeast ecosystem reached a re­cord high 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit in 2012, exceeding the previous high in 1951. The average temp has typically been lower than 54.3 degrees over the past three de­cades. The increase in 2012 is one of only five times temperatures that have changed by more than 1.8 degrees.

According to the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Cen­ter, temperature increase is af­fecting distributions of seven key fishery species. The four southern species – black sea bass, summer flounder, longfin squid and butter­fish – all showed a northeastward shift. American lobster has shifted north over time but at a slower rate than the southern species. Atlan­tic cod and haddock have moved south.

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