According to experts, preliminary ocean temperatures off the coast of South Florida have reached triple digits, potentially setting a global record. On Monday afternoon, a buoy in Manatee Bay, Florida, reported a high ocean temperature of 101.1 degrees, marking an unprecedented marine heat wave in the region.
While neighboring buoys are not reporting the same triple-digit temperature, they do show readings in the mid to upper 90s, as stated by meteorologists. High water temperatures in the ocean are extremely uncommon, and this significant rise has scientists concerned.
Ocean temperatures are closely linked to climate change, with the United Nations panel on climate change asserting that the ocean has been warming unabated since 1970 and has absorbed over 90% of the excess heat from the climate system.
NASA’s data indicates that the last decade was the ocean’s warmest since at least the 1800s, and 2022 was recorded as the warmest year with the highest global sea level.
Interestingly, ocean temperature readings are not just breaking records in South Florida. This week, the North Atlantic and Mediterranean are also experiencing unprecedented warmth.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts that maritime heat wave conditions will persist through September in the North Atlantic and might extend until the end of the year.
Alarming data reveals that 44% of the global ocean is currently experiencing a maritime heat wave, affecting ecosystems and weather patterns worldwide.
In South Florida, dangerous heat indexes have blanketed the region for over a month. Miami, for instance, hit a heat index of 108 degrees, as reported by the National Weather Service. Triple-digit heat indexes have set records for consecutive weeks in the city.
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Brian McNaldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science, expressed concern over the significant margins by which records are being broken. The magnitude of the temperature rise is alarming, surpassing not only the previous records but also the average temperatures for this time of year.
The ocean temperatures in South Florida, approximately 94 degrees, are up to 7 degrees warmer than expected for this time of year, typically observed in late August or early September.
As ocean temperatures continue to rise, it poses a significant concern for climate change and its impacts on marine life, ecosystems, and weather patterns.