May 20, 2013

The alarming May 16 front-page article “World’s fish on move to cooler waters, study finds” blamed climate change for the migration of commercial fisheries since 1970 and included a statement that Atlantic surf clams have declined in the Mid-Atlantic while now thriving off New England.

For this to be true, the mean annual temperature of coastal Maine would have to resemble that of tidewater Virginia in the early 1970s. That is not the case. According to data from the National Climatic Data Center, the Tidewater Virginia Climatological Division’s annual temperature averaged around 58 degrees Fahrenheit in the early 1970s, while the current temperature for the Coastal Maine Division is around 46 degrees. Factors other than climate change must be operating here.

Patrick J. Michaels, Washington

The writer is director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute.