By James Goldie, Writer with 360info, Melbourne.
This year is proving a breakout year for ocean temperatures. With marine heatwaves currently impacting waters off the coasts of the US, Japan, Canada, Peru and the Mediterranean, global ocean temperatures have reached record levels again — just four months after the last record.
With so many developments happening in so many places, Melbourne academic publisher 360info has built a live monthly temperature tracker for the world’s oceans. Using open data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it shows the long-term rise in sea surface temperatures across every global ocean, as well as the Mediterranean Sea, the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, and a global average.
Global oceans have been hotter in July 2023 than in any July for the last 40 years – by a large margin.
The global average ocean temperature (excluding polar regions) has broken its monthly record every month since March. July 2023, for example, was 20.96 degrees Celsius — over a quarter of a degree hotter than the previous July record of 20.70C in 2020.
Some regions are running hot even by this standard. The North Atlantic, where experts are worried about coral bleaching, was nearly three-quarters of a degree hotter in July 2023 than the previous July record in 2019.
And even though it’s the middle of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the Southern Ocean was nearly one-fifth of a degree hotter in July 2023 than the previous July record in 2022.
The Ultramarine project – focussing on research and innovation in our marine environments – is supported by Minderoo Foundation's Flourishing Oceans initiative.