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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Study confirms Gulf Stream warming, shifting toward Maine coast

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Monday, December 18, 2023   

The latest research finds the Gulf Stream has warmed faster than the global ocean over the past two decades, and has shifted toward the Atlantic coast.

Scientists say the ocean current, which carries tropical water up the Eastern Seaboard, has warmed two degrees Fahrenheit since 2001 and could be pushing warmer water into the Gulf of Maine.

Robert Todd, an associate scientist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said years of data collection confirm what climate models predicted.

"Long-term ocean observing really is important," said Todd, "and we need to keep making those observations so we can understand what's actually happening in the climate system."

Todd said ocean temperatures are steadily rising as a result of human activities. He said the findings could determine how changes in the Gulf Stream will impact Maine's coastal industries.

The Woods Hole study relied on more than 25,000 ocean temperature and salinity observations collected through the Argo Program - an array of some 4,000 floating robots throughout the global ocean.

In addition, underwater gliders have slowly navigated the Gulf Stream - revealing warm rings of water, which Todd says could enter the Gulf of Maine and alter marine environments and species.

"You can imagine if you have an organism that likes cold water, and suddenly the water is a whole lot warmer because this ring was there," said Todd, "those organisms might not be there anymore or might suffer - and then, the fisheries associated with that would suffer."

The Gulf of Maine - which stretches from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Nova Scotia, Canada - is already considered one of the fastest-warming ocean regions on the planet.

Todd said the data collected is shared in real time with scientists around the world.



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