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April 22, 2014

Maine more than 2 degrees warmer since first Earth Day

New research shows that Maine's average temperature has risen more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the first Earth Day was celebrated 44 years ago today on April 22, 1970.

The state had the eighth largest increase in average temperature since 1970 out of the 48 contiguous United States, according to a new report from Climate Central, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on climate science.

Maine's warming rate is 0.61 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, slightly below the rates for Delaware and Wisconsin, which tied for first at 0.67. Of the 48 contiguous states that were used in the study, the average temperature for 26 rose by more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit. The increases match an overall increase in average global temperatures.

Rising temperatures around the Earth have been linked by scientists to rising sea levels, which have posed new risks and challenges for homeowners and businesses in Maine's coastal communities. Federal emergency management officials are currently in the process of revising boundaries for coastal properties that are at risk of flooding in a large storm, which could require more property owners to pay for flood insurance — or if they already do, pay more.

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