The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of the world's oceans.

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Eunice Foote was the first person to identify carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and hypothesized that changes in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would affect the Earth’s temperature.* Her paper “Circumstances Affecting the Heat of Sun’s Rays,” was presented at the 8th annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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1856

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1896

Svante Arrhenius calculated that doubling the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide would increase surface temperatures 5–6 degrees Celsius.

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1938

First peer-reviewed published scientific paper documenting climate change.

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1962

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Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. Considered by many the book that created the modern environmental movement,  it has been attributed to the passage of the first major U.S. environmental laws in the early 1970s.

 Publication of “Restoring the Quality of our Environment”, a Report of The Environmental Pollution Panel, President’s Science Advisory Committee, The White House. Appendix Y4 in particular evaluated atmospheric carbon dioxide and its impact on climate.

1965

1970

Environmental Protection Agency founded.

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1973

Discovery by Mario Malina, in the lab of F. Sherwood Rowland, that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) could destroy ozone. (Both were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for this work.)

1973

Institute for Quaternary Studies founded by Hal Borns at the University of Maine, now known as the Climate Change Institute. It was the nation’s first multidisciplinary research institute created to study Earth’s long-term climate variability.

1974

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences founded by Charles and Clarice Yentsch. Bigelow researchers study the whole of the ocean, from microbes to large-scale biogeochemical processes that make up the ocean systems.

1987

Montreal Protocol, an international treaty that regulates the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances. It is “to date the only UN treaty ever that has been ratified by every country on Earth - all 198 UN Member States.”

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1988

James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Space Institute gave testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, stating unequivocally that global warming had begun and was human-caused.

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1988

Establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization

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1992

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed at the Rio Earth Summit. This Convention lead to both the Kyoto Protocol (1997) and the Paris Accords (2015)

2006

Release of An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary about former United States Vice President Al Gore and his pursuit of helping people understand global warming.

2009

Maine’s Climate Future - An Initial Assessment published.  Updates were published in 2015 and 2020. “In late 2007, Governor Baldacci asked the University of Maine and its Climate Change Institute to lead a preliminary analysis of the effects of climate change in Maine during the 21st century. “

2012

Introduction of the web tool Climate Reanalzer. Created and maintained by University of Maine Climate Change Institute Research Assistant Professor and Maine State Climatologist Sean Birkel, the Climate Reanalyzer, provides public access to climate models, weather forecasts, and historical weather station data.

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2012

Introduction of the web tool Climate Reanalzer. Created and maintained by University of Maine Climate Change Institute Research Assistant Professor and Maine State Climatologist Sean Birkel, the Climate Reanalyzer, provides public access to climate models, weather forecasts, and historical weather station data. 

2015

Researchers led by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute publish a paper in Science explaining the impact of the rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine - 99.9% faster than any other ocean - leading to the collapse of the Gulf of Maine cod fishery.

2019

The Maine Science Festival commissions Lucas Richman to write The Warming Sea.

Creation of the Maine Climate Council “to develop a four-year plan to put Maine on a trajectory to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 and at least 80% by 2050.”

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2019

National Geographic Society project with the largest scientific expedition to Mount Everest, led by the University of Maine Climate Change Institute Director Paul Mayewski.

2020

Maine artist and scientist Jill Pelto commissioned by TIME magazine for the cover of the climate issue.

The Maine Climate Council releases “Maine Won’t Wait” a four-year plan for climate action; Maine is the first state to have a climate action plan. This report is the result of 16 months of meetings among more than 200 Mainers who are part of the Maine Climate Council six working groups and a subcommittee charged with putting Maine on track to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, as well as carbon neutrality by 2045.

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Publication of the Sixth Assessment Report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an all volunteer team of thousands of scientists from 195 countries. It states: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.”

The New York Times reported, “"Earth is getting so hot that temperatures in about a decade will probably blow past a level of warming that world leaders have sought to prevent, according to a report released Monday that the United Nations called a ‘code red for humanity.’”

2021

2022

World premiere of The Warming Sea, an exploration of hope in the face of the climate crisis. Commissioned by the Maine Science Festival, composed by GRAMMY award winner Lucas Richman, and performed by the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.