Gulf of Maine Heating at 7 Times the Rate of the Oceans

Sinister Oil
Sinister Oil


I’m slowly getting settled here in Maine where I shot a roll of film in December and just recently had the chance to develop it in my new photo lab.

As I noted several years ago in my photobook, Exploring Maine’s Coast, the Gulf of Maine is heating, rapidly. In fact, it’s heating at 7 times the rate of all the oceans. We are now beginning to know why. As reported in Science News by Agu, and published in the journal, Science, there are several reasons for this. First, the Gulf of Maine is relatively shallow and rather closed in by George’s Bank. Second, as climate change warms the Arctic, meltwater coming off the glacier on the east coast of Greenland flows into the southbound Labrador Current. Normally this current keeps the northbound Gulfstream further out to sea. However, since freshwater from the glacier lowers the salinity of the Labrador Current, it is pushed lower down in the Gulf, allowing the Gulfstream to move closer to shore. Third, the air is also getting warmer.

As a result, the rich supply of fish and lobster are beginning to migrate further north. Eventually, the Gulf of Maine will host fish from warmer waters. In the meantime there are more in the way of toxic algae blooms.

Yet, from the shores of Cape Elizabeth, once can still see the arrivals of oil tankers bringing in more petroleum, on which we all depend. The environmental scientists tell us we’re running out of time to switch over to renewable energy. That assumes, of course, that we believe in science as the best way to know the world in which we live.

You can see more of my December shoot at my online gallery.




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