Ocean in parts of Florida reaches whirlpool temperatures

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — In the sweltering summer heat, nobody tries to cool off by jumping in a hot tub. In parts of Florida, however, the sea has felt the same way.

earlier this week, reached sea surface temperatures Temperatures around the southern tip of the state in Manatee Bay reached as high as 38.4 degrees Celsius, according to the National Weather Service — although scientists said the context for Monday’s readings was complicated.

“It was like there was no difference between the humidity and being in the water,” said Chelsea Ward of Fort Myers, Florida.

Beachgoers wade in the sea at Crandon Park, Friday, July 28, 2023, in Key Biscayne, Florida.
Beachgoers wade in the sea at Crandon Park, Friday, July 28, 2023, in Key Biscayne, Florida.

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Even in Florida, where residents are used to the heat and many retirees find refuge from the cold northern winters, triple-digit sea temperatures are breathtaking. Several other places nearby reached the mid-90s (about 35 degrees Celsius). A storm finally struck on Wednesday, helping sea temperatures drop back to the more moderate 80s (about 29 degrees Celsius).

Humans naturally seek water to refresh themselves. Every summer, millions of people grab their swimsuits for a day at the beach and to cool off in the water, a break from work and worries. Pools offer the same relief and are a gathering place for friends. However, when water temperatures get too high, some of the appeal is lost.

Ward, 47, no longer keeps her beach bag in her car despite living just minutes from the beach in Fort Myers. The water is just too hot lately. When her friend asked her if she wanted to go to the beach on Sunday, the pair decided against it after finding out the water temperature was around 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius).

When it’s hot, the body cools down by sweating, which evaporates and releases heat. A dip in the sea is usually so refreshing because heat is efficiently transferred from your body into the water. According to Michael Mullins, a Washington University toxicologist and emergency room physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, however, as water temperatures rise, this effect diminishes and you lose less heat at a slower rate.

A hot tub—or a stretch of seawater that’s hotter than body temperature—reverses heat transfer to your body. It’s not a pleasant experience on a hot, humid Florida day.

“It would feel,” Mullins said, “like swimming in soup.”

Boats anchored in Manatee Bay off the Florida coast near Key Largo on Friday, July 28, 2023.
Boats anchored in Manatee Bay off the Florida coast near Key Largo on Friday, July 28, 2023.


People are already not swimming as often in Florida waters, which were so extremely hot earlier this week. The water can be muddy and there are also alligators and crocodiles in the area.

But everywhere, high temperatures can make swimming less comfortable. Phoenix held out until Friday Highs over 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) every day this month. The pools are warm. About 150 miles (240 kilometers) northwest in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, 50-year-old Stefanee Lynn Thompson wanted to keep guests cool for a pool party she threw on Sunday. The heat had raised the pool’s temperature to 96 degrees (36 degrees Celsius).

Her friend recommended that she buy blocks of ice. She ran to the grocery store, picked up 40 of them and threw them in the pool. She also set up fans. Due to the hard work, the temperature in the pool dropped by a total of 4 degrees (7 degrees Celsius).

“If it’s 120, anything helps,” Thompson said.

Recently, sea temperatures off Florida’s west coast have been a few degrees above normal, hovering around 88 to 90 degrees (31 to 32 degrees Celsius). It is not just people who are suffering from the warming of the oceans. bleaching sea corals. You can get injured if the water temperature rises above the top 80 degrees (below 30 degrees Celsius).

July was so hot Scientists have even announced a global heat record before the month ended. climate change makes the world hotter, warming the oceans and making some storms more destructive. Sea surface temperatures are slightly above average around Florida, but are far warmer in parts of the North Atlantic near Newfoundland, where they are up to 5 degrees Celsius hotter than usual.

The extremely high sea surface temperatures recorded off the southern tip of Florida earlier this week were caused by lots of sun, little wind and no storms.

“I’ve never seen temperatures hit 100 degrees in Florida Bay in the 21 years I’ve been in the Keys,” said Andy Devanas, a research associate for the National Weather Service in Key West, Florida.

Beachgoers' Lounge at Crandon Park, Friday, July 28, 2023, in Key Biscayne, Florida.
Beachgoers’ Lounge at Crandon Park, Friday, July 28, 2023, in Key Biscayne, Florida.

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Is the water that warm everywhere?

And there are some questions about how representative Monday’s 101.2 degrees readings were in Manatee Bay. The water is shallow there and therefore warms up quickly. A large amount of sediment can also increase temperatures, according to David Roth, a forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.

On the other hand, visit the YMCA pools on the north coast of Massachusetts near Boston and take a dip in the water, which is around 78 to 80 degrees (26 to 27 degrees Celsius). The sea nearby is also cooler. Sea surface temperatures off Cape Cod, for example, barely touched the mid-70s (about 24 degrees Celsius) this week.

When Maria Argueta, 38, takes time off from her job at an outdoor ornamental plant nursery in Homestead, Fla., she takes her family for a swim.

“This year the heat is stronger,” she said.

The hot seawater doesn’t bother her, but she sometimes takes her two-year-old son and other family members to the Venetian Pool, a public facility in Coral Gables that’s fed by water from an aquifer that’s always in the ’70s. The very cool water is refreshing, she said.

Humid Florida weather makes it harder for sweat to evaporate and cools the body. The people of South Florida know that the sea offers no real relief from this sweltering heat.

“They don’t get much cooling at all,” Roth said. “In the summer in South Florida, nobody really gets into the water except for swimming, which is pleasant but not refreshing.”

AP journalist Seth Borenstein reported from Washington, Dupuy from New York and Phillis from St. Louis. The Associated Press receives support from the Walton Family Foundation for reporting on water and environmental policies. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Related Articles

Back to top button