Tag Archives: climate change

Gulf of Maine is Warming Faster than 99.9% of Ocean Waters

According to a 2015 study by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the waters of the Gulf of Maine, which stretch between Cape Cod and Nova Scotia, are warming faster than 99.9% of the world’s oceans.  Rising 3 degrees celsius in the last decade alone, the waters of the Gulf of Maine are rapidly becoming a focus for scientists interested in studying the effects of future climate change right now in a real world setting.  It’s a local test of what is likely to come globally.

250px-GulfofMaine2

Impacts on marine life include:

  • The cod fishery that was over-fished for decades currently stands at only 4% of sustainable levels and has not rebounded as expected despite an effective moratorium on cod fishing in the Gulf
  • Lobster populations and harvests are at an all-time high due to the warmer water and lack of cod predators
  • Local species are moving north and into deeper water and new populations of black sea bass, green crabs and long fin squid are showing up on the Maine coast
  • Phytoplankton concentrations are 25% of what they were a few decades ago.  As an important foundation of the food chain, this bodes ill for marine life generally.

The cause of the recent temperature rise seems to be a reduction of cold deep water entering the gulf from Newfoundland and Greenland due to the global warming induced rapid ice melt occurring there which is changing cold water currents.

Here are a few great articles that go into more depth:

Portland Press Herald  Big Changes are Occurring in one of the Fastest-warming Spots on Earth

New York Times  Cod’s Continuing Decline Traced to Warming Gulf of Maine Waters

Yale University’s Environment 360  Fast-warming Gulf of Maine Offers Hint of Future for Oceans

 

On Care for Our Common Home

Earth Our Common Home

If you do anything this summer, take a couple of hours to read the original text of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, “On Care for Our Common Home.” The media has portrayed it as a statement on climate change. It is much more than this. It is a visionary call to enrich the cultural and spiritual foundation of our common world. It speaks to the underlying values that have led to environmental degradation, hyper-consumerism and lack of meaning, and points to a better way forward.

The Pope’s encyclical is perhaps the most thoughtful and progressive discussion that has been presented by any world leader on our current predicament. As our political leaders have avoided these issues, it is remarkable, and probably appropriate, that this has come from one of our most preeminent spiritual leaders. As a non-church-goer myself, I found the document to be accessible, smart, and highly actionable.

It is notable when religious leaders and the scientific community are in such agreement, particularly on an issue as important to our future and to that of creation as climate change. It’s now time for our political and corporate leaders, as well as all of us, to evaluate how we got here and what we can do going forward. Pope Francis presents a thoughtful diagnosis and a powerful vision for change.

Just google “Laudato Si.” It is well worth a read.  Laudato Si