Earlier in July, the Earth recorded the highest temperatures since we kept records, and many scientists believe that this may have happened a hundred thousand years or more ago.
When the planet is hotter, the ocean is hotter. In fact, the ocean absorbs 90% of our global warming.
When the ocean heats up and the ice caps melt, the ocean expands, bringing too much water onto the coastlines.
A warmer ocean increases the length of the hurricane season because May and December are warm enough for systems to grow.
And once a hurricane forms, we know that warmer temperatures make it slower, wetter, and stronger—three things that can wipe out coastal communities.
With unprecedented water temperatures off our coasts in South Florida, our nighttime low temperature records continue to drop because if the ocean temperature is stuck at 90 degrees, the air temperature struggles to fall below 85 degrees, even in the morning, for weeks and weeks.
And if the morning low starts in the mid-80s, it’s more likely for daily records because we’re already starting warmer.
As the water temperature rises, the humidity increases, which blows with the sea breeze to South Florida.
The combination of temperature and humidity gives us a warm index, the temperature our bodies think it is because they have to work harder to stay cool.
The Fort Lauderdale heat index peaked at 118 degrees this past weekend, and that could be deadly because our bodies just can’t keep cool.
And as the ocean continues to warm, we are reaching a number that, unfortunately, is getting too warm for coral reefs to survive.
These “marine rainforests” are incredibly resilient and can regenerate back to life after being on the brink of death due to warm ocean temperatures.
But researchers found water temperatures of 87 degrees 70 feet off the coast of South Florida. If corals stay above 84 degrees for too long, they cannot be saved.
The forecast is almost certain that over the next decade, many corals will disappear forever.