Warmer winter for Bay of Fundy?

Region being affected by warmer Pacific waters now, last fall in Gulf of Maine

John DeMings jdemings@digbycourier.ca
Published on January 21, 2016

This region is affected now by the El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, and the lingering effects of warm waters last fall in the Gulf of Maine.

The Bay of Fundy region may be in for warmer temperatures and more precipitation over the next month, according to a newly released outlook.

The Gulf of Maine Region Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook also predicts that the eastern U.S. can expect more winter impacts like the major storm it is bracing for this weekend.

Winter Storm Jonas, which may reach Nova Scotia this weekend, is among anticipated effects of this year’s El Niño, one of the strongest on record.

For December through February, Environment Canada and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are both calling for an increased chance of above-normal temperatures for the Gulf of Maine region.

Environment Canada is predicting an increased chance of above-normal precipitation for New Brunswick, western Prince Edward Island, and portions of Nova Scotia.

In this region, the El Niño influence is compounded by Gulf of Maine sea surface temperatures that remained substantially above average last fall, according to the Gulf of Maine Region quarterly Outlook, which incorporates meteorological data generated by NOAA and Environment Canada.

Outlook incorporates meteorological data generated by NOAA and Environment Canada.

A recent study released by NOAA provides further evidence of the accelerated rate of warming in the Gulf of Maine and northwest Atlantic Ocean. 

 The Gulf of Maine has been identified as one of the fastest warming regions of the global oceans and the warming is linked to the decline in the region’s cod fishery.

Rapid warming in the northwest Atlantic has been linked to changes in the distribution of many ocean species. Over the last several years, scientists have reported seeing fewer critically endangered right whales in their traditional feeding grounds in the Bay of Fundy.

Right whales come to the Gulf of Maine to feed on a particular cold-water zooplankton species, leading to speculation that warm waters may have reduced the abundance of the whales’ favourite food.

Last summer, scientists searching for right whales outside their traditional feeding grounds found a surprising number of the whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Outlook is issued every March, June, September and December: to view the December edition and receive future copies, visit http://www.gulfofmaine.org/2/climate-network-climate-outlook/