Sea-surface temperatures around our embarrassing southern peninsula have passed 32°C, significantly warmer than normal:
Not only is Florida sizzling in record-crushing heat, but the ocean waters that surround it are scorching, as well. The unprecedented ocean warmth around the state — connected to historically warm oceans worldwide — is further intensifying its heat wave and stressing coral reefs, with conditions that could end up strengthening hurricanes.
Much of Florida is seeing its warmest year on record, with temperatures running 2 to 3°C above normal. While some locations have been setting records since the beginning of the year, the hottest weather has come with an intense heat dome cooking the Sunshine State in recent weeks. That heat dome has made coastal waters extremely warm, including “downright shocking” temperatures of 33°C to 35°C in the Florida Keys, meteorologist and journalist Bob Henson said Sunday in a tweet.
Such warm water temperatures “would be impressive any time of year, but they’re occurring when the water would already be rather warm, bringing it up to bona fide bathtub conditions that we rarely see,” Brian McNoldy, senior research associate at the University of Miami and hurricane expert for Capital Weather Gang, said in an email.
The marine heat wave will likely make this year's hurricane season more active and more powerful, and cause continued above-normal temperatures in the Caribbean and southern US.