Global ocean temperatures rise to record levels

According to data from the European Union’s climate monitor, the average daily global sea surface temperature rose to 20.98 degrees Celsius on August 4th, 2023, far above the average for this time of year. The world’s oceans are a vital buffer against the impacts of the climate crisis and are a critical life support system. A combination of the climate emergency and El Niño means humanity can expect temperature records like this more frequently.

The rise in temperatures has sparked alarm among climate scientists for several reasons, including:

  • The surface temperature of the world’s oceans is usually expected to reach its highest in March rather than in August
  • Ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions are affecting the health of the ocean
  • The ocean heatwave is an immediate threat to some marine life

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