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Extreme Heat in Europe Led to “Brutal” Rise in Sea Temperatures

Little-known marine heat waves have become another worrying signal of climate change.

Fish swim over Posidonia, a Mediterranean seaweed that’s impacted by extreme heat, in the Gulf of Sur Mer, France, August 2021.

Fish swim over Posidonia, a Mediterranean seaweed that’s impacted by extreme heat, in the Gulf of Sur Mer, France, August 2021.

Photographer: Alessandro Rota/Getty Images

On June 19, a day after thermometers rose to record highs across several parts of Spain and France, a buoy floating on the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of the Balearic Islands, registered 29 degrees Celsius (84 Fahrenheit).

The extreme heat wave on land unleashed a marine heat wave that’s still ongoing, according Melanie Juza, a researcher at the Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting System, which tracks marine temperatures daily across the Mediterranean.