Not only will heat records be broken on Earth this summer. The Mediterranean is currently being devastated by a massive underwater heat wave. “In some places it’s five degrees Celsius warmer than average,” says British meteorologist Scott Duncan, who monitors record temperatures around the world.
According to Duncan, the “enormous and cruel” marine heat wave in the Mediterranean is caused by the unusual heat that has swept Europe since the beginning of May. Since then, there has already been an unprecedentedly high average surface water temperature in the Mediterranean.
The western Mediterranean is particularly affected. This is a Category 3 marine heat wave, which is described as “extreme” as classified by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For comparison: Class 1 is “moderate,” Class 2 is “strong,” Class 4 is “extreme” and Class 5 is “more than extreme.”
According to the French meteorological station “La Chaîne Météo”, the temperature of the sea water off the coasts of Corsica and Nice rose to at least 30 degrees Celsius on Friday, which are “tropical values”.
NOAA maps also show that the surface water temperature off our coast is above average, up to 3°C.
It may not seem like much above average temperatures, but it is. After all, water heats up much slower than air.
Underwater heat waves can cause serious damage. After all, long and intense marine heat waves have a devastating effect on marine ecosystems.
It also has an effect on the weather above ground. Warmer water reduces the coldness of the air, which can cause intense heat waves to land. It can also cause heavy rain in late summer and early fall.
The longest recorded marine heat wave lasted from 2013 to 2016 and caused havoc in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. The entire ecosystem in the area is disrupted. Thousands of birds died, the number of jellyfish increased exponentially and harmful algae increased as well, which in turn poisoned marine mammals.
To this day, scientists are still discovering new effects of that marine heatwave Viscous liquid. For example in kelp forests, large groups of algae are below sea level. Some kelp forests have suffered a bit from the heat wave and others have suffered devastatingly. a recent study It is now shown that in some areas environmental factors have compounded the effect of the heat wave, such as the presence of sea urchins.
Six years later Viscous liquid The ecosystem in the Northeast Pacific has not yet fully recovered.
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