MaineBiz: At a recent Pierce Atwood event on the impact of climate change, an attendee posed a common question: whether the term climate change has hurt scientists and others trying to convince the public that ocean waters are warming and thus changing, and that coastal communities are at risk for flooding or disappearing altogether.
"Portland Harbor is a metaphor for how climate change changes our lives," Pershing says. This year, the Gulf of Maine, which stretches from Cape Cod to Canada's Bay of Fundy, already is 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit above average, and it may break another record this year, he says. And it's warmed twice as fast as other average ocean temperatures elsewhere over the past 35 years.
That impacts the fish and other species that can't tolerate those higher temperatures and the changes in water salinity. Just look at the decrease in groundfish boats in the past 10 years, he says. And while there's a comparative boom in lobster in Maine this year, the fishery in Rhode Island is effectively closed due to shell disease and fishery management issues.