North Atlantic Ocean breaks temperature record a month ahead of usual peak

North Atlantic waters reached an average temperature never before measured this Wednesday

The North Atlantic Ocean recorded a new daily maximum temperature this week, one month before the usual heat peak, after that seen with the Mediterranean, reveal preliminary data from marine heat waves that hit the planet.

The waters of the North Atlantic this Wednesday reached an average temperature never before measured, according to the Oceanic and Atmospheric Observation Agency of the United States (NOAA), whose records began in the early 1980s.

"According to our analysis, the record average surface water temperature in the North Atlantic is 24,9°C [degrees centigrade] and was observed on July 26," Xungang Yin told Agence France-Presse (AFP). , scientist at NOAA's National Environmental Information Centers (NCEI).

These data, still considered provisional, will take about two weeks to be verified, he added.

This new maximum is particularly impressive because it occurs earlier, with the North Atlantic typically reaching its peak heat in early September.

The previous maximum temperature was recorded last year, in early September 2022, with a temperature of 24,89ºC, slightly lower than this week, stressed Xungang Yin.

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea also broke a heat record on Monday, with a median temperature of 28,71°C, announced the main center of maritime research in Spain, whose readings also began in the early 1980s.

These scientists prefer the median temperature over the average (28,40°C on Monday) because it is less disturbed by extreme temperature readings in isolated spots in the Mediterranean, they explained.

The surface temperature of the North Atlantic "should continue to rise during the month of August", warned Xungang Yin, so it is expected that the record will be broken again.

The temperature of 24,9°C is “more than one degree warmer” than normal, averaged over 30 years (between 1982 and 2011), he noted.

Since March, the month in which the North Atlantic begins to warm up after winter, the temperature curve has been moving well above that of previous years, with the difference in level increasing even more in recent weeks.

The North Atlantic thus became an emblematic point of observation of the overheating of the planet's oceans, under the effect of global warming caused by greenhouse gases.

The European observatory Copernicus, which uses a different database than NOAA, told AFP this Friday that it recorded a temperature of 24,70°C on July 26.

"It remains below the September 2022 record" set at 24,81°C in its ERA5 database, which dates back to 1979, explained a Copernicus spokesperson.

But "there is little doubt that the record of early September 2022 will be broken this summer", he stressed, adding that it is "a matter of days".

Globally, average ocean temperatures have been steadily breaking seasonal records since early April.

In a ridiculous but impressive way, the water temperature off the coast of Florida (USA) reached 38,3°C on Monday night, according to the reading of a weather buoy.

This temperature, usually more associated with that of a bath, potentially constitutes an absolute world record in terms of punctual measurement, if its accuracy is confirmed.