The Mediterranean Sea is warmest in history, due to climate changes

2023 - 07 - 31

According to the Spanish Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM), last week the Mediterranean Sea reached the highest daily temperature ever recorded.  The new record results from an extraordinarily severe heat wave in a large part of the Mediterranean Sea, which is also one of the epicentres of global warming.

According to scientists, the median daily temperatures on the surface of the Mediterranean Sea reached 28.71 degrees Celsius. They obtained data based on an analysis of satellite data of the European Copernicus service. The previous record of 23 August 2003 was 28.25 degrees.

Water temperatures even exceeding 30 degrees were recorded locally between the Italian island of Sicily and the city of Naples, which is four degrees above normal. These data are yet to be confirmed by the Copernicus service.

High water temperatures endanger marine ecosystems. Based on the study in the Global Change Biology magazine dated July 2022, massive dying of about fifty species of sea animals, from corals, through sea urchins to various molluscs, occurred during heat waves in the Mediterranean Sea from 2015 to 2019.

The Mediterranean region, which was hit by record-breaking heat waves and large-scale forest fires this month, has been considered by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for a long time as a centre of manifestations of global climate changes. “The Mediterranean Sea is a sad example of the damaging impacts of climate changes on marine ecosystems. Rising temperatures in these areas lead not only to a substantial decrease in biological diversity but also to the arrival of many invasive species. Specific measures need to be taken to mitigate the consequences of these adverse impacts on biodiversity, such as creating new marine and coastal reserves or restoring Mediterranean forests in the original species composition,” said Dalibor Dostal, Director of the conservation organisation European Wildlife.

According to him, restoration of the original Mediterranean forests should be a priority as part of nature conservation in the Member States of the EU as well as a key part of EU’s development aid to Northern Africa and Middle East countries.

Photo: Wikimedia

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