From Cape Hatteras to Maine, Atlantic sea-surface temperatures along the coast warmed dramatically last year, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Admiinistiration.
The agency's Northeast Fisheries Science Center computed a late-summer peak temperature of 57.2 degrees for the Midatlantic-coastal region, known as the Northeast Shelf Ecosystem.
That represented the highest such reading in the period of recordkeeping, dating to 1854, NOAA said.
While the warming wasn't widespread, NOAA said, the temperatures along the Shelf were well above normal the entire year.
The Shelf waters cooled off some in the fall, perhaps the result of all the churning caused by Sandy.
The warm water temperatures was related to how warm the adjacent land areas have been in recent years, said the Science Center's Kevin Friedland, and by the more remote effects of currents entering the Shelf.
NOAA noted that some recent studies have documented changes in the whereabouts of fish and shellfish, important developments for the commercial fishing industry.