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Climate Update: Winter and Spring 2017

Figure 9. Comparison of April 1 snowpack for 2016 and 2017. Image from the NWS National Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (

Comparison of April 1 snowpack for 2016 and 2017. Image from the NWS National Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center.

By Sean D. Birkel, Maine State Climatologist

Following the record warmth in winter 2016, winter 2017 (December – February) was warm and wet. Spring 2017 was generally cool and wet. Increased snowfall and a longer snow season compared to last year contributed to easing of the 2016 drought. Climate in Maine and across the Northern Hemisphere is heavily impacted by the declining extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice. Read more.

Research Highlights: Improving assessment of critical habitat for Atlantic salmon in a rapidly changing climate

Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, once thrived in the streams and rivers of New England. However, salmon populations have declined to the point that they are listed as a federally Endangered Species. Despite efforts to restore Atlantic salmon habitat and increase their chance of survival, several factors related to climate change threaten their recovery.  PhD student Nicole Ramberg-Pihl is researching how the combined effects of climate change and competition with non-native smallmouth bass impact juvenile Atlantic salmon in Maine streams. Read more about the important research here.

Maine Climate and Agriculture

The purpose of the Maine Climate and Agriculture Network, initiated by faculty at the University of Maine, is to increase communication and coordination among those working on issues related to climate and agriculture. The Maine Climate and Ag website provides an initial portal to some of the climate-related activities at the University of Maine, and serves as an invitation to those with an interest in this topic to participate. See their new fact sheet: Farm Response to Changing Weather.

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