Climate Change

The sun sets over the ocean
Beautiful sunsets are common over the sanctuary, but warming air and water temperatures will affect the sanctuary ecosystem. Photo: Ari Friedlaender

The Gulf of Maine, in which the sanctuary is located, is warming faster than 99% of the world's ocean. The consequences of this change may have significant effects on the life cycle and migration patterns of sanctuary species, the health of individual animals, and the ecosystem in general. Much of the work underway in the sanctuary today links animal and human responses to the effects of a changing climate. Collected data is used to develop baseline levels to which suspected changes can be measured. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has prepared a summary document (2020) about climate change in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.