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Water-Related News

The Atlantic is hotter, earlier. That’s a bad sign for hurricane season, Florida corals

It’s only February, but sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean are already hitting early summer levels, a worrying trend that could indicate an active hurricane season ahead — or another marine heat wave.

Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami, called this early season heat “very, very exceptional,” and said it’s a strong sign that the upcoming hurricane season could see an above-average number of storms.

In the North Atlantic, he said water temperatures are running three months ahead of schedule, at May-level temperatures. In the main development region of the Atlantic, where most hurricanes are born, McNoldy said sea surface temperatures are closer to July levels.

“That is like hurricane season out there right now,” he said. “We’re just blowing past all the other years, there’s no comparison.”

But hurricane season doesn’t start until June 1, leaving plenty of long weeks of heating between now and the official start date. High sea surface temperatures are closely connected with more storm formations and an earlier start to the season. Scientists have suggested that climate change-driven warming has pushed the start of the hurricane season above two weeks earlier, to mid-May.