A new “Ecosystem Advisory” from NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) reports, “Sea surface temperatures in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem during 2012 were the highest recorded in 150 years.”
The Ecosystem extends from Cape Hatteras, N.C. to the Gulf of Maine. The temperature record is “based on both contemporary satellite remote-sensing data and long-term ship-board measurements.” In 2012, sea surface temperature (SST) for the region was nearly 3°F above the average for the past three decades:
The advisory reports on conditions in the second half of 2012.
Sea surface temperature for the Northeast Shelf Ecosystem reached a record high of 14 degrees Celsius (57.2°F) in 2012, exceeding the previous record high in 1951. Average SST has typically been lower than 12.4 C (54.3 F) over the past three decades.
… The temperature increase in 2012 was the highest jump in temperature seen in the time series and one of only five times temperature has changed by more than 1 C (1.8 F).
No doubt it was purely coincidental that six months ago, in the fall of 2012, the Northeast was hit by the “largest hurricane in Atlantic history measured by diameter of gale force winds (1,040mi).” Or not.
The fact is climate scientists have long predicted that about 90% of total human-made global warming would go into heating the oceans — and that’s precisely what’s been happening (see “Global Warming Has Accelerated In Past 15 Years, New Study Of Oceans Confirms“):
Land, atmosphere, and ice heating (red), 0-700 meter OHC increase (light blue), 700-2,000 meter OHC increase (dark blue). From Nuccitelli et al. (2012).
But I guess we’ll need some storms even more destructive than frankenstorm Sandy before the nation wakes up to the reality that climate change is unfolding much as scientists had warned — and that means all but certain ruin for modern civilization if we don’t slash carbon pollution rapidly.
- How Does Climate Change Make Superstorms Like Sandy More Destructive?
- How Arctic Ice Loss Amplified Superstorm Sandy — Oceanography Journal