Florida seawater as hot as bath tub infographic
Graphic charts seawater temperatures off southern Florida.


Waters off Florida hit unofficial record of 38.4°C

By Ninian Carter

July 26, 2023 - The surface ocean temperature in southern Florida hit hot tub levels on two consecutive days in July.

The surface ocean temperature in Manatee Bay, on the southern tip of Florida, hit an unprecedented 38.4°C at 6pm on Monday, July 24, in what is likely a global record for the hottest seawater ever recorded.

Meteorologists say the record is unofficial (it may be disqualified because the area is shallow, contains sea grasses and may be influenced by warm land in the nearby Everglades), but the initial reading on a buoy maintained by the Everglades National Park in Manatee Bay hit 38.4°C (101.1°F) on Monday evening, and on Sunday afternoon the same buoy measured a reading of 37.9°C (100.2°F).

National Weather Service meteorologist George Rizzuto believes the buoy is accurate, citing other nearby buoys which measured in the 36.7°C and 37.2°C (98°F and 99°F) degree range.

Scientists are concerned by prolonged hot waters around Florida’s coastline because they are causing coral bleaching and even in some cases deaths.

A recent study lists a 37.6°C (99.7°F) sea surface temperature recorded in Kuwait Bay in July 2020 – likely now the former world’s hottest seawater.

To illustrate just how hot Manatee Bay became, hot tub maker Jacuzzi recommends bath water of between 37.8°C and 38.9°C (100°F and 102°F).

PUBLISHED: 26/07/2023; STORY: Graphic News