Amid brutal heat waves this summer, Earth’s oceans are the hottest they have been in modern history, by an unusually wide margin. The planet’s average sea surface temperature spiked to a record high in April, and the ocean has remained exceptionally warm ever since.
In July, widespread marine heat waves drove temperatures back up to near-record highs, with some hot spots approaching 38 degrees Celsius.
The North Atlantic has seen some of the most exceptional warmth, with recent temperatures consistently reaching more than 1.1 Celsius higher than what is typical for this time of year.
“I find it kind of astonishing,” Gregory Johnson, an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said. “This is a pretty big step up.”