Sea surface temperatures in Florida reached unprecedented highs

DORAL, FL – Sea surface temperatures in Florida have reached the highest levels on record since satellites began collecting ocean data. 

According to experts, the water is more than 2 degrees Celsius above the normal range which threatens the survival of coral reefs that due to this condition start to bleach just like it’s happening in the Florida Keys, home to 6,000 individual reefs.

To be more specific, eleven observations of partial bleaching were confirmed by the Mote Marine Laboratory in June. Scientists warned this number could increase in the next weeks.

The problem doesn’t only lie in the fact that the ocean is too hot, close to 97 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas, but in the duration of the extreme heat since the more it lasts the greater the chances for corals to die. Experts say this phenomenon has been occurring for several weeks now and started earlier than usual. 

During a regular season, sea surface temperatures get higher gradually until reaching their peak by late August and the beginning of September. Nevertheless, this Monday buoys of the coast of Florida measured hot tub-like water temperature between the southern tip of Florida and they Keys. 

All this means temperatures could still get higher in the coming weeks, while severe and significant coral bleaching is expected during the next week, as Derek Manzello, a coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch, told CNN.

In addition, Manzello said the coral could possibly die within a month. “It still remains to be seen if this event is going to be more or less severe than previous events. However, all of the evidence right now is pointing to the fact that it’s going to be one of the most severe events we’ve seen.”

This would impact Florida’s marine species and economy greatly, since coral reefs generate billions of dollars through activities like fishing and tourism. Without reefs to protect the species that rely on them, these two segments are not possible. 


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