The sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic has reached a record high, according to preliminary data released on Friday by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has been tracking it since the early 1980s.
“Based on our analysis, the record-high average sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic Ocean is 24.9°C”, which was observed on Wednesday, Xungang Yin, a scientist at NOAA's National Centres for Environmental Information, told AFP.
The record is particularly startling as it comes early in the year – usually, the North Atlantic reaches its peak high temperature in early September.
The previous record high was recorded in September 2022, at 24.89°C, Mr Yin said.
The sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic is “expected to continue to increase through the month of August”, the scientist said and added it was “highly likely” the record would again be broken.
The new high of 24.9°C is “more than one degree warmer than a 30-year climatological normal, calculated from 1982 to 2011”, he said.
Since March, which is the month when the North Atlantic begins to warm up after winter, temperatures have generally been warmer than in previous years, with the difference more pronounced in recent weeks.
The North Atlantic has become an emblematic observation point for the warming of seawater worldwide due to the effects of climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions.