Soaring ocean temperatures in Florida concern local environmentalists

Searing heat is gripping most of the country, particularly in land-locked locations like Phoenix which has been shattering records.

The oceans are also experiencing some record temperatures.

The water off the coast of Florida is being compared to a hot tub.

It’s a spike in temperature that’s catching the eye of environmentalists in Massachusetts.

A reading from a buoy off the Florida Keys registered 101.1 degrees on Monday.

Data collected throughout July found waters topping the mid-90s all along the Florida Coast.

“It feels to me like this is kind of the summer of reckoning,” said Andrew Gottlieb, Executive Director of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. “We’re seeing temperature changes that have been underway and predicted for a long time and we’ve sort of crossed that threshold.”

Waters off the Massachusetts coast, known as the Gulf of Maine, are also getting hotter.

According to Glen Gawarkiewicz, Ph.D., a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, “The temperatures in the Gulf of Maine and south of New England had been increasing really since the early 2000s, but they’ve really turned up since about 2010.”

In fact, the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than about 95% of the world’s oceans.

Last year, the surface temperature was about 4 degrees about the long-term average.

“Temperature is one of the most prominent environmental forces for marine species, so it really impacts their reproduction, their growth, or seasonal migrations,” explained Aubrey Church, Policy Manager at the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance.

She says many species are already trying to adapt.

For example, they might move northward to cooler, deeper water. Some species might not be able to sustain their population, like Atlantic Cod, however.

“It’s signaling these systems are in crisis,” said Gottlieb.

He says the changes underway are global in scope and that everyone will ultimately feel the effects.

“Whether you’re in Florida and you’re seeing increase bleaching of coral reefs which will ultimately lead to their death, or if you’re in New England and you can’t find lobsters on south-facing portions of the New England coast, these effects are very real.”

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW