As the US experienced intense heat on Monday, the 24th of July, a new boiling mark was hit. A buoy in Florida recorded an astonishing 101.1 degrees Fahrenheit water temperature — the average hot tub temperature ranges between 100 to 102 degrees. This was after the same buoy recorded 100.2 degrees the day before in Manatee Bay.
Now, these readings might look like there was a sensor error; however, neighboring buoys registered similar high temperatures. At Murray Key and Johnson Key, 99.3F and 98.4F were registered consecutively. Another reason the registered water temperatures are being taken seriously is that the researchers have noted the unusually warm water temperature readings. Since early July, these noted records ranged from 92 to 97 degrees.
For the most part of the month, the region’s unusual weather pattern for the summer months has been the key factor. The weather pattern has featured a static setup that is fueled by a strong area of high pressure which has caused days of higher-than-normal air temperatures and, in many cases, record-setting air temperatures.
Tradewinds usually produce southeast winds and sea breezes for South Florida. The winds keep the temperature of the sea surface in check, but now, the unusual weather pattern has led to weaker-than-average trade winds. The winds have been weak and out of the west, causing the sea surface temperature to increase.
Despite the fact that experts have been recording unusually high water temperatures for a month, Sunday and Monday’s records stunned them.
Here are some factors that could have been responsible for the startling increase in the water temperature.
- Intense sunlight hitting shallow water.
- Air temperatures are between the mid and upper 90s.
- Weak winds of less than 10 mph across the region.
- When water is full of silt, it gets a darker color. Since darker colors absorb more heat, the silty water will absorb more sunlight and heat.
Sea surface temperature readings taken on July 23rd and 24th present a potential challenge to the current world record for the hottest sea surface temperature ever recorded. This record is held by Kuwait Bay, with an amazing 99.7-degree temperature. Typically, there isn’t a formal process for dealing with such records, but in this case, the new Florida data would require additional verification due to the proximity to the land and the silty nature of the water.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that ocean warming has been intensifying since 1991, now running at twice the pace of the projected marine heat wave for September 2023. An experimental forecast earlier in June suggested that half of the world’s oceans might experience heatwave conditions by September 2023. To contrast, the system also predicts the severity of these heat waves, excluding the effects of global warming over the past three decades. Without factoring in global warming, the models suggested that only a quarter of the world’s oceans would be impacted by heat waves in September. Concerning!