Gulf of Mexico warming at twice the rate as the global oceans
A new government-run, peer-reviewed research project has determined that the sea surface of the Gulf of Mexico is warming at twice the rate as the global ocean average. The rate of warming is currently just short of 0.2 of a degree Celsius per decade.
In addition, the entire Gulf of Mexico from the surface to the bottom has been warming over the past several decades.
Above image credit: Journal of Climate 36, 8; 10.1175/JCLI-D-22-0409.1. Zhankun Wang, Tim Boyer. James Reagan and Patrick Hogan.
The research team looked at nearly 200,000 temperature profiles going back to 1950 to conduct this study. Over the years, the methods for recording water temperatures has changed. In the early years, most of the temperature data was retrieved from ships, which used reversing thermometers or bathythermographs. In recent years, ARGO floats have supplied much more detailed water temperature data.
The upper 2000 meters of the Gulf of Mexico has been warming at a rate of 0.38 of a degree Celsius per decade between 1970 and 2020, with the highest warming rates in the upper 50 meters.
The loop current heat flux is the main source of warming in the Gulf of Mexico.
The most concerning impacts of this notable warming trend are sea level rise due to thermal expansion, impacts on sea life and more intense tropical cyclones, as warmer water provides more available energy for these destructive and potentially deadly storms.
Link to the AMS Journal of Climate study.
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