Britain in Hot Water, Fears for Fish.

Map shown unusually warm water in British waters, but is it warm enough for humans to swim in?
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By Editor-June 19th, 2023.

The European Space Agency (ESA) says that Britain is surrounded by unusually warm water, reports BBC News.

Water temperatures are as much as 3 to 4C above the average for this time of year in some areas, according to analysis by ESA and the the London Meteorological Office.

The sea is particularly warm off the UK’s northeast coast from Durham to Aberdeen, and off north-west Ireland.

The Met Office says the reason is partly human-caused climate change.

Scientists warn that intense heat like this can kill fish and other sea life, sometimes on a huge scale.

Marine heatwaves – prolonged periods of unusually high sea surface temperatures – are also associated with more extreme weather because storm systems pick up more energy and can become more intense and longer-lasting.

The warm sea around the UK comes as air and ocean surface temperatures worldwide have been spiking sharply in recent months.

Global sea surface temperatures for both April and May were the highest ever recorded in Met Office data that goes all the way back to 1850.

In May the average ocean temperature was 0.85C higher than normal for the month, according to figures from the US National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

We have seen a series of extreme heat events around the world with unusually high temperatures helping fuelling record-breaking wildfires in Canada that blanketed New York and other North American cities in smoke.

Asia has also been affected, with monthly records broken in China and in parts of Siberia.


At the same time the extent of the sea ice in the Antarctic is the lowest on record for this date by a large margin.

Professor Albert Klein Tank, the head of the Met Office’s Hadley climate research centre, does not believe the array of global temperature records signals that the Earth has passed some kind of climate tipping-point.

“All of these elements are part of natural variation within the climate system which are coming together to elevate sea-surface temperatures to higher levels”, he says.

The unusually high temperatures have continued into this month.

The first 11 days of June were the hottest ever recorded worldwide for this time of year, the EU’s Copernicus climate and weather monitoring service reported last week.

But experts expect more temperature records to be broken in the coming months because the Pacific Ocean is expected to continue to warm thanks to the development of an El Niño event.

Scientists are already predicting it is likely to make 2024 the world’s hottest year.

El Niño is the most powerful fluctuation in the climate system anywhere on Earth.

The El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, to give it its scientific name, is moving into its hot phase when warm waters come to the surface off the coast of South America and spread across the ocean driving significant heat into the atmosphere.

But the most dramatic increase in sea surface temperature right now is in the North Atlantic.

Souces: BBC News, European Space Agency.
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