24. January 2022

Sea temperatures inch towards record high but marine ecosystems could suffer


Sea temperatures inching towards record-breaking highs have prompted concern amongst ocean consultants as swimmers hoping to chill down within the deep blue are discovering the water virtually the identical temperature because the sand.

University of NSW professor of oceanography Moninya Roughan mentioned there have been a number of elements contributing to the hotter waters off Sydney, together with the broader results of local weather change, La Nina, the East Australian Current and localised southerly winds which push hotter water onshore. But additional south, cooler than regular ocean temperatures had been being attributable to cooler currents, also referred to as chilly eddies.

Ocean swimmer Lauren Tischendorf, who swims around the eastern suburbs, said the water had been noticeably warm since the end of last year.

Ocean swimmer Lauren Tischendorf, who swims across the japanese suburbs, mentioned the water had been noticeably heat because the finish of final 12 months.Credit:Jessica Hromas

“Off Sydney right now, it is really warm and the water temperatures are approaching some of the warmest that we have ever seen,” Professor Roughan mentioned. “The Tasman Sea region between Australia and New Zealand has been in a marine heatwave for the last three months.”

Ocean temperatures round Sydney had been 23 levels on Tuesday, but have peaked at 25.5 levels final week. Average water temperatures for Sydney throughout December sit at 22.3 levels, whereas January temperatures common 24.1 levels. The warmest sea temperature for January recorded in Sydney was 26.6 levels in 2017.

Elsewhere, sea temperatures in Byron peaked at 26.6 levels final week – above its December common of 24.5 levels, whereas Coffs Harbour had 25 levels on Saturday. South, Batemans Bay peaked at 21.3 levels on Monday, slightly below its month-to-month common of 21.5 levels.

Swimmers hoping to cool off in the water are finding temperatures almost as warm as on the beach.

Swimmers hoping to chill off within the water are discovering temperatures virtually as heat as on the seashore.Credit:Jessica Hromas

UNSW’s Climate Change Research Centre Associate Professor Andrea Taschetto mentioned because the planet warmed, marine heatwaves would develop into extra widespread, posing points for wildlife.

“It is concerning — we know as global temperatures increase, the oceans absorb more than 90 per cent of excess heat that is due to anthropogenic sources,” she mentioned. “The ocean warms as well, it is not only the atmosphere. Marine heatwaves also impact coastal communities as well who depend on resources from the ocean, such as fishing.”

Professor Roughan and her colleagues measure water temperatures a number of kilometres from Sydney’s coast with sea floor temperatures more likely to break their historic data extending again almost 80 years. At one web site 5.5 kilometres off Sydney’s coast, the warmest January temperature recorded hit 23.9 levels.


Professor Roughan mentioned this January could break that mark.

University of Technology Sydney professor of marine ecology David Booth mentioned a number of years in the past corals bleached within the harbour when ocean temperatures reached 26 levels, with eyes now turned to how the coral would react this time.

He mentioned whereas it was fascinating to see new species migrate, it got here on the detriment of different species used to cooler environments.

Professor Booth added that whereas marine animals that thrived in cooler ecosystems could relocate as hotter waters prevailed, there was solely thus far they could journey.

“Fish can disperse further south, but they will run out of room — once they reach the end of Tasmania it’s a long way to Antarctica,” he mentioned.

Ocean swimmer Lauren Tischendorf, who just lately grew to become the primary lady to swim solo round Lord Howe Island, repeatedly swims round japanese suburbs seashores.

“I definitely noticed at the beginning of December and end of November the water felt warmer than normal,” she mentioned. “You can tell early in the morning because it is still fresh outside, but the water is quite warm and balmy.

“While that warmer water is enjoyable to swim in – you can go further without getting cold, without needing extra nutrition and rehydrating – but at the same time, it is not as good for our environment. ”

Swimmers at Melbourne’s St Kilda seashore skilled sea temperatures of 21.3 levels on Tuesday, about 0.5 levels hotter than the month-to-month common, whereas Williamstown’s ocean temperature was 21.6 levels – marginally greater than its month-to-month common of 20.8 levels. The warmest temperature ever recorded for Williamstown in January was 24 levels.

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