Researchers measure record temperature in the North Atlantic

The water temperature on the surface of the North Atlantic is higher than at any time since measurements began. This is shown by data from the University of Maine. This could have an impact on air temperature.

The highest temperature ever has been measured at the surface of the North Atlantic. According to preliminary data from US researchers, it is hotter than it has ever been since they began their data series in 1981. Its average temperature was 25 degrees last Saturday, according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer platform.

The record value of these measurements had previously been 24.9 degrees and had been reached in the days from 1 to 7 September 2022.

Weather data and analyses flow into evaluation
The evaluations of Climate Reanalyzer are so-called reanalyses, Mojib Latif of Kiel’s GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research recently explained. “Not only real measured weather data is included, but also model calculations.” The final temperature analyses will follow later.

The experts from the University of Maine count the area from the equator to the 60th parallel north, which lies north of Scotland, as well as from zero longitude, which passes through London, for example, to the 80th longitude west, where Florida, among other places, lies.

Researchers cite greenhouse gases as the main reason for warming
According to the report, the main reason for the increase is man-made greenhouse gases. More than 90 percent of the heat they generate is absorbed by the oceans, said climate researcher Latif. As a result, the oceans have become significantly warmer at depths of up to 2,000 metres, and in a few areas even deeper – with consequences not only for the ecosystems.

Since March, the surface of the oceans has been showing record temperatures for the respective month. Now the climate phenomenon El Niño is gradually being added. According to the researchers, this natural weather phenomenon could drive up the already rising temperatures in the course of the climate crisis.

US weather agency also measures record high temperature
The latest preliminary measurements of the US Oceanographic and Meteorological Administration (NOAA) also confirm the data of the Climate Reanalyzer of the University of Maine: “Based on our analysis, the record-high average sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic is 24.9 degrees Celsius,” NOAA scientist Xungang Yin told the news agency AFP. The value was recorded on Wednesday last week. It was measured several weeks before the usual annual maximum temperature, the agency announced last Friday, citing preliminary data.

Normally, the North Atlantic reaches its maximum temperature in early September, according to the agency. Sea surface temperatures are expected to “continue to rise in August,” NOAA scientist Yin said. It is “highly likely” that the record will then be broken again.

Temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea also very high
The Mediterranean Sea also reached its highest temperature since records began last week, according to researchers at the Spanish Institute of Marine Sciences. According to the report, a record temperature of 28.7 degrees Celsius was recently measured at the water surface. “This situation is extreme: we have seen maritime heat waves before, but the (current ones) are very persistent and spread over a large area,” said Karina von Schuckmann of the Mercator Ocean International research centre.

Record temperatures since March
In general, this year’s July has been accompanied by extremes and records. Scientists had recently announced that July 2023 would most likely be the hottest month since records began. In the first three weeks of this month, global average temperatures had already been significantly higher than in previous years due to heat waves in many regions.

According to scientists, weather extremes such as heat waves are increasing in intensity and frequency as a result of global climate change. The earth has already warmed by about 1.2 degrees since the beginning of the industrial age. The Paris Climate Agreement envisages limiting warming to well below two degrees, but preferably to 1.5 degrees. As things stand, however, the Earth is heading for a dangerous warming of about four degrees.