The coastal ocean and its fisheries have played a huge role in the cultural and economic development of Cape Cod. Yet recent changes in the atmosphere and deep ocean threaten the natural rhythms that govern the ecosystems of the shallow waters surrounding Cape Cod.

One factor affecting the coastal ocean in the northeastern United States is a change in the motions of the atmospheric jet stream. We felt the effects during the past winter, which was exceptionally cold and snowy. In recent years, the north-south movements of the jet stream have been increasing. However, the eastward motion has been stalling, resulting in more persistent weather patterns — cold or warm — that affect the temperature distribution in the coastal ocean.

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