Record-warm deepwater pouring into the Gulf of Maine, researchers find

In today’s Portland Press Herald, I wrote about a Canadian research team’s discovery that record-warm Gulf Stream water is pouring into the Gulf of Maine, probably because of a weakening of the normally dominant, very frigid Labrador Current flowing down from Greenland via Atlantic Canada. The water – at depths of more than 200 feet – was a balmy 57F earlier this month, 11 degrees above the norm for this time of year, and other scientists say such water has been filling deepwater basins inside the Gulf for months.

Exactly what will happen next is uncertain, but the fear is that when the water upwells to the surface — usually during winter – it could contribute to another “ocean heat wave” like the one in 2012 the wrecked havoc with just about everything in the Gulf and set off a chain of events that had New Brunswick lobstermen detaining trucks filled with Maine lobster at the gates of Canadian processing plants.

[Update, 5/2/17: Prompted by this story, US Senators Angus King and Susan Collins have asked NOAA to take action.]

For more on the warming of the Gulf of Maine and the possible consequences, consider my 2015 Press Herald series “Mayday.” I last wrote on the situation — and Maine’s lack of response — in November.