The Mediterranean is warmer than at any time since records began


The water temperature is 28.71 degrees
The Mediterranean is warmer than at any time since records began

Heat gripped Southern Europe – with disastrous consequences for the Mediterranean. Never before has the temperature been measured at the surface of the water. The IPCC’s outlook for the region does not look good.

A new record temperature has been measured in the Mediterranean. The Barcelona-based Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM), citing data from the European Union’s Copernicus Earth observation programme, said the average temperature at the water surface was 28.71 degrees, on Monday.

This is the highest daily temperature ever measured in the Mediterranean. The previous record was 28.25 degrees and was recorded during the intense heat wave in the summer of 2003.

Scientists at the Institute for Marine Research ICM wrote that the water temperature is rising as a result of climate change at a rate of two degrees per 100 years in the western Mediterranean and in some places at a rate of three degrees per century. It is also getting saltier.

The Mediterranean region is currently experiencing a severe heat wave with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees. Violent forest fires are also raging in Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Algeria. According to an analysis by the World Weather Attribution (WWA) research network, the current heat wave in the Mediterranean would be “virtually impossible” without man-made climate change. In addition, overall climate change is causing heat waves to become hotter, longer, and more frequent.

Climate change exacerbates droughts

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change will also exacerbate water shortages “in most places” in the region. Lakes and drinking water reservoirs are expected to lose up to 45 percent of their water this century. Up to 55 percent less surface water would be available in North Africa. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that the impacts of climate change on terrestrial and marine ecosystems are also leading to loss of habitat and biodiversity.

And there are other risks: “Sea level rise is already affecting the Mediterranean coasts and, according to projections, will increase the risk of coastal flooding, erosion and salinity,” says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “These impacts will harm agriculture, aquaculture, urban development, ports, tourism, cultural sites and many coastal ecosystems.”

The sea itself and fisheries are also threatened. “Since the 1980s, ecosystems in the Mediterranean have changed, reflected in a decline in biodiversity and an increase in invasive species” due to climate change and other human activities, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said. With global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees, more than a fifth of the fish and invertebrates in the eastern Mediterranean could become extinct by 2060. The report says that fishing yields could drop by up to 30 percent by 2050.


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