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Earth System Data Solutions for Detecting and Adapting to Climate Change in the Gulf of Maine Gulf of Maine Research Institute/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Science Mission Directorate

This winter was one of the coldest ever in New England. Using funding from NASA’s EPSCoR program, we issued the first operational forecasts for how temperature will impact landing patterns in Maine’s valuable lobster fishery. During the winter and spring, lobsters are not as active and are in deeper water off shore. This makes them hard to catch, and catch rates are low. As waters warm up in the spring, lobsters become more active, migrate inshore, and shed their shell. This leads to a rapid increase in the catch rates, usually around July 4. In 2012, warm water temperatures caused Maine lobsters to move inshore earlier than normal, kicking off the high-landings period in the fishery three weeks early. As the supply chain was not ready for this influx, product backed up and the price of lobster collapsed. Our project is intended to give the industry advanced warning of major changes in the timing of the high-catch period and the opportunity to avoid situations like what occurred in 2012. We built the forecast model using historical lobster landings and temperature data from the Gulf of Maine to predict the start date for the season. Our forecasts began in March and were updated weekly through April 15 at lobster-forecast. Our final forecast predicts that the season has a 63% chance of being 1-3 weeks delayed, due to the cold water along the coast this spring. The year that is most analogous to the current forecast is 2005. The delayed start to the season that year caused total annual landings to be lower and prices to be higher than in normal years. We will issue another round of forecasts next year. We are currently exploring how we can use NASA products, including satellite temperature and seasonal forecasts to issue accurate forecasts earlier in the year.



NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014 -15

Dr. Andrew J. Pershing, Science PI, Gulf of Maine Research Institute

NASA Technical Monitor: Edward M. Armstrong, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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