While vacationers might enjoy the Mediterranean Sea’s summer warmth, scientists are warning of dire consequences for its marine life as it burns up in a series of severe heat waves.
From Barcelona to Tel Aviv, scientists say they are witnessing exceptional temperature hikes ranging from 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) to 5 degrees Celsius (9 Fahrenheit) above the norm for this time of year.
Water temperatures have regularly exceeded 30 C (86 F) on some days.
Extreme heat in Europe and other countries around the Mediterranean has grabbed headlines this summer, but the rising sea temperature is largely out of sight and out of mind.
Marine heat waves are caused by ocean currents building up areas of warm water. Weather systems and heat in the atmosphere can also pile on degrees to the water’s temperature.
The situation is “very worrying,” says Joaquim Garrabou, a researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences in Barcelona.