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Report shows rapid warming continues in the Gulf of Maine

FILE-A school of baitfish swims off the coast of Biddeford, Maine, in this Sept. 3, 2018 file photo. Research shows that growth rates of phytoplankton, the primary food source of small fish and crustaceans, is slowing down in the Gulf of Maine, posing challenges for the rest of the ecosystem. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, files)
Robert F. Bukaty/AP
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AP
FILE-A school of baitfish swims off the coast of Biddeford, Maine, in this Sept. 3, 2018 file photo. Research shows that growth rates of phytoplankton, the primary food source of small fish and crustaceans, is slowing down in the Gulf of Maine, posing challenges for the rest of the ecosystem. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, files)

As human-caused climate change causes ocean waters worldwide to warm, a recent report shows dramatic warming in the Gulf of Maine continuing.

The waters of the Gulf of Maine hit record high monthly temperatures in March and April, and spring was the second warmest in a 40-year dataset, according to a seasonal update from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

The institute's Dave Reidmiller says climate change is affecting the Gulf of Maine in complex ways, which include a diminishing influence of the Labrador Current, and an increasing influence of the Gulf Stream.

"It's basically like the cold water faucet in your bathtub all of a sudden is just releasing a little bit more warm water," Reidmiller says. "On top of that, you've got the hot water faucet that's increasing the amount of water coming into the region as well."

According to the report, Gulf of Maine waters in March and April were more than 3 degrees warmer than the 40-year average.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.