Given the Katrina-like devastation after Superstorm Sandy slammed into New York and New Jersey, it was no surprise when panelists at a global warming symposium were told that water temperatures in the Northeast for the first half of 2012 were the warmest in more than 150 years of record keeping.

The region experienced record heat on land in 2012, and water temperatures hit all-time highs from top to bottom, all along the continental shelf from the Mid-Atlantic states to Canada. This was due in part to a slowing of a cold-water ocean flow, known as the Labrador Current, that tends to cool off New England waters.

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