SUMMER heat waves aren’t just wreaking havoc on land where wildfires have already ravaged more than 230,000 hectares across Spain. Temperatures are also rising to unprecedented levels in waters off the coast of Spain, posing a threat to marine life.
The Spanish Meteorological Agency (Aemet) reported on Friday that in parts of the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain, temperatures reached over 30°C during the latest heat wave, the third since June.
Waters off the east and southeast coasts of Spain and around the Balearic Islands are between 2.5°C and 4°C warmer than usual this summer, reaching 30°C in some places.
These sudden and atypical temperature spikes – which add to the long-term trajectory of ocean warming – have disastrous consequences for aquatic fauna and flora.
Aemet warned that rising water temperatures can lead to algal blooms in coastal waters as well as an increase in jellyfish blooms.
The warm sea temperature also brings an increased risk of storms with sudden torrential downpours likely to occur when cooler temperatures arrive.
If you’ve been swimming in the Mediterranean this summer, you’ve probably noticed that the water is warmer than usual. But the temperature rises are not limited to the mild Mediterranean coast.
On the Cantabrian coast of northern Spain, from Galicia to the Basque Country, temperatures are also on the rise, measuring some 2ºC higher in some places than the average for previous summers.