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Scientists: Hot Seawater in South Florida Reaches New High

This image provide by NOAA, shows a dead coral at Cheeca Rocks off the coast of Islamorada, Fla., on July 23, 2023. (Andrew Ibarra/NOAA via AP)
Scientists: Hot Seawater in South Florida Reaches New High
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Scientists say that a body of water at the southern end of Florida reached a new high temperature of over 38 degrees Celsius early this week.

Weather scientists, called meteorologists, say they measured the high seawater temperatures in Manatee Bay on both Sunday and Monday. They believe the water temperature may be the world’s highest ever recorded. A floating device that sends information to the U.S. weather agency, NOAA, recorded the temperature.

A 2020 study showed that Kuwait Bay reached 37.6 degrees Celsius. That was thought to be the highest-ever water temperature.

Jeff Masters is a meteorologist with Yale Climate Connections, a weather news service. “This is a hot tub,” he said. A hot tub is a heated water pool many people use for treating sore muscles. Jacuzzi, a company that makes hot tubs, recommends a water temperature of about 38 degrees Celsius.

Masters and Brian McNoldy, a meteorologist at the University of Miami, both said the temperatures might not be an official record because the water is close to land and contains sea grass.

However, McNoldy said, “it’s amazing.”

The high temperatures could put sea life, such as coral, in danger.

Andrew Ibarra is a researcher for NOAA. He took a small boat out to the area called Cheeca Rocks to look at coral and said, “I found that the entire reef was bleached out.”

Bleaching is when coral loses its color. It is a sign that the sea creatures are in danger of dying.

Ian Enochs studies coral for NOAA. He said coral bleaching was almost never seen before the 1980s. Now, he said, “We’ve reached the point where it’s become routine.”

Enochs added that the amount of bleaching he sees this early in the year makes him “nervous.”

The high water temperature in Florida goes along with all-time high sea surface temperatures in April, May and June. NOAA also said water temperatures in the North Atlantic, near the Canadian province of Newfoundland are five to six degrees Celsius warmer than usual.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on a report by the Associated Press.


Words in This Story

coral –n. very small organisms that live together and form a system along the seabed that supports other marine life

amazing adj. very impressive, worthy of admiration or notice

entire –adj. all of something

routine –adj. usual or normal

province –n. a governmental region in some nations, similar to a state

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