Mediterranean Sea hits highest-ever temperature

The global sea surface temperature climbed to unprecedented highs for the month of June

Louise Boyle
Wednesday 26 July 2023 05:07 BST
Wildfires sweep through Europe during record-high temperatures

The Mediterranean Sea hit its highest temperature ever recorded on Monday amid back-to-back extreme heatwaves buffeting Europe.

The average Sea Surface Temperature (SST) for the Mediterranean was 28.4C (83.1F) on Monday, the European Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) confirmed. The previous record was set on 23 August, 2003 at 28.25C (82.85F).

The global sea surface temperature climbed to unprecedented highs for the month of June, according to the Copernicus, driving localised marine heatwaves across the planet including around the UK and Ireland; the Baltic Sea; the Sea of Japan; the Pacific Ocean off New Zealand, and the western Indian Ocean close to Madagascar.

Previous marine heat waves in the Med led to mass die-offs of some species and caused losses for the seafood industries, a study published earlier this year found. The heatwaves are expected to become more frequent, more intense and last longer as the climate crisis, caused by burning fossil fuels, continues to worsen.

The heat dome lodged over Europe is causing temperatures in excess of 45C (113F) in parts of Greece, Spain, Sardinia, Sicily and southern Italy.

Conditions this summer are being amplified by the still-emerging El Nino climatic pattern, with more severe impacts expected throughout this year and into 2024.

The first week in July was the planet’s hottest on record – an alarming milestone that climate scientists warned would likely be toppled soon.

Along with marine heatwaves, the record temperatures have contributed to raging wildfires, drought, crop failures and public health emergencies.

If the heat dome isn’t disrupted, it’s possible that the continent could face more episodes of extreme heat this summer. according to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

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