This August, Earth’s ocean temperatures reached a new record high. Breaking the previous 2016 record of 20.95 °C, the new 20.96 °C record is causing great worry among many scientists. Ocean warming has many negative effects on the ocean, as it plays a key role in sea level rise and coral bleaching. According to Dr. Kathryn Lesneski, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist, the Gulf of Mexico “feels like a bath when you jump in,” and there is “widespread coral bleaching […] in Florida”, whose coral population has been damaged greatly.
However, scientists say that this is only the beginning. As these new record-high temperatures are the result of climate change, we may reach even higher temperatures during naturally warmer seasons. Copernicus Climate Change Service scientist Dr. Samantha Burgess says March is when oceans naturally are the warmest, not August. Because of this, Dr. Burgess emphasizes that ocean temperatures may be even hotter next March. Furthermore, with a new powerful El Nino coming soon, global ocean temperatures may surpass our normal expectations.
To protect the marine ecosystem and prevent the sea levels from rising any further, scientists say that we must take action now. “The more we burn fossil fuels, […] the longer it will take to stabilize them[ocean temperatures] and get them back to where they were,” In fact, records are being broken everywhere, with UK waters being 3 to 5C hotter than average. In Florida, sea surface temperatures reached 38.44°C. Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change must be treated seriously to save our oceans from destruction.