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Marine life is still in danger after extreme ocean heat off Florida has ebbed

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In late July, a fierce ocean heat wave ratcheted up temperatures in Florida’s coastal waters to unprecedented highs. One buoy bobbing in shallow, turbid Manatee Bay logged a measurement of 38.3˚ Celsius (101˚ Fahrenheit). That may be the highest temperature ever recorded in the ocean. A week later, that surge in ocean heat had ebbed. But South Florida’s denizens are still in hot water.

The concern is not just that the Manatee Bay buoy recorded shockingly high, hot tub–level temperatures — actually, “close to the limit of hot tub temperatures” — for several days in a row, says Benjamin Kirtman, a climate scientist at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science.


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