A Global Record: Florida’s Ocean Temperature Soars to 101.19F
The surface ocean temperature around the Florida Keys hit 101.19F (38.43C) this week, a level that could be a global record. The high temperature was recorded by a water temperature buoy located in the waters of Manatee Bay at the Everglades national park. The readings add to previous warnings over Florida’s warming waters as prolonged heat continues to bake other parts of the country.
Heatwaves and Ocean Ecosystems
Heatwaves are increasingly affecting the world’s oceans, destroying kelp, seagrass, and corals and killing swathes of sea life like “wildfires that take out huge areas of the forest”. Research in 2019 found that the number of ocean heatwave days had tripled in recent years. A 2021 heat dome likely killed more than 1 billion marine animals along Canada’s Pacific. The growing frequency and intensity of severe weather – both on land and in oceans – is a symptom of the global, human-driven climate crisis that is fueling extremes, experts warn.
Threats to Human Food Supplies and Livelihoods
The high temperatures around the Florida Keys are putting coral reefs at risk, which is severely stressing coral reefs. The warmer water around Florida could supercharge tropical storms and hurricanes, which build more energy over warmer waters. Rising temperatures are also threatening human food supplies and livelihoods for those whose work is tied to the water. Fishing boat captain Dustin Hansel reports that the catch has been getting “slower and slower” for the past five summers.
Global Impacts of Ocean Heatwaves
The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported earlier this month that global sea temperatures have reached monthly record highs since May, also driven in part by an El Nino event. Rising temperatures are also severely stressing coral reefs, the agency said. The temperatures in Florida pose a threat to marine life, ecosystems, and human food supplies. The global impacts of ocean heatwaves are far-reaching and will require collaborative efforts from governments, businesses, and individuals to mitigate.
How to Help?
By understanding the impacts of ocean heatwaves and taking action to reduce our carbon footprint, individuals can help mitigate the effects of climate change on our oceans. Some practical tips include reducing energy consumption, eating a plant-based diet, reducing waste, and promoting sustainable transportation. Protecting and restoring ecosystems, such as forests and wetlands, is also critical to mitigating climate change.
The record-breaking ocean temperatures in Florida are a stark reminder of the urgent need to take action on climate change. By understanding the causes and impacts of ocean heatwaves, we can work towards a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations. The time to act is now.