Earlier this week, south Florida saw sea surface temperatures equivalent to a normal hot tub. At Manatee Bay, inside Everglades National Park, a water temperature buoy about five feet underwater showed a temperature of 101.19 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday afternoon, with other buoys in the vicinity reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, reported AFP and Reuters.
Manatee Bay is located about 38 miles southwest of Miami.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this time of year normal south Florida water temperatures should be from 73 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit, The Guardian reported.
“As far as all of our bay waters, any near-shore waters, everything is super, super hot,” Dustin Hansel, a fishing boat captain in Key Largo, Florida, told Reuters.
“We didn’t expect this heating to happen so early in the year and to be so extreme,” Derek Manzello, a coordinator at the NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch, told CNN. “This appears to be unprecedented in our records.”
Sea surface temperatures in the waters of south Florida stayed above 100 degrees Fahrenheit for about four hours on Monday, according to AFP.
The 101.19 degrees Fahrenheit temperature might have set a sea surface temperature world record, but a tweet from meteorologist Jeff Masters, a former government scientist, said “contamination of the measurement by land effects and organic matter in the water might… invalidate the record. Unless there is photographic proof that debris was not present, it would be difficult to (verify) the 101.F record as valid,” as reported by AFP.
According to Spain’s Institute of Marine Sciences, the Mediterranean Sea saw a record high temperature of 83.678 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, Le Monde with AFP reported.
Experts have said current heat waves are expected to continue through August, with the extreme temperatures being fueled by human-caused climate change, reported Reuters.
Record high sea surface temperatures are being affected in part by El Niño.
Increased sea surface temperatures in Florida could add to the severity of hurricanes and tropical storms as they move over the warmer waters. “We are seeing unprecedented changes all over the world,” said NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt, as AFP reported.