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Triple-digit ocean temps in Florida could be a global record

Alie Skowronski/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

(MIAMI) — Preliminary ocean temperature off the coast of South Florida reached triple digits, which could be a global record, according to experts.

A buoy in Manatee Bay, Florida, reported a preliminary high ocean temperature of 101.1 degrees Monday afternoon, according to meteorologists.

High water temperatures in the ocean are extremely uncommon, however, scientists have categorized the very significant marine heat wave in the region as unprecedented, experts said.

Neighboring buoys are not reporting the same triple-digit temperature. Those buoys are reading more in the mid to upper 90’s, according to meteorologists.

Ocean temperatures have a strong connection to climate change. The United Nations panel on climate change says it’s “virtually certain” the ocean has warmed unabated since 1970 and has absorbed more than 90% of excess heat from the climate system.

The last 10 years were the ocean’s warmest decade since at least the 1800s, according to NASA.

2022 was the ocean’s warmest recorded year on record and with the highest global sea level, experts said.

In addition to the preliminary reading in Florida that could be a global record, ocean temperature readings are also breaking records in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean this week.

Maritime heat wave conditions are forecasted to continue through September in the North Atlantic, and may last until the end of the year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Oceans all over the world are experiencing warmer-than-normal temperatures, with 44% of the global ocean currently experiencing a maritime heat wave, according to NOAA.

For over a month, dangerous heat indexes have blanketed Florida. Miami hit a heat index, or the feels-like temperature, of 108 degrees on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Last week, triple-digit heat indexes extended a record that Miami had broken the week before, according to the National Weather Service.

“When you’re breaking records by such large margins, that’s what makes it alarming. We’re not even close to what the previous record was, let alone the average,” Brian McNaldy, senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science, told ABC News last week.

While land temperatures were about 95 degrees in South Florida last week, ocean temperatures clocked in at about 94 degrees — up 7 degrees warmer than they should be this time of year. Water temperatures do not typically measure this high until late August or early September, according to experts.

ABC News’ Julia Jacobo and Ginger Zee contributed to this report.

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