Mediterranean waters are warming at a rate of around two degrees per 100 years in the western Mediterranean and in some places, like L’Estartit on the Costa Brava, up to three degrees per century. This is the conclusion reached by researchers from the Spanish marine research institute ICM-CSIC in the journal “Journal of Marine Science and Engineering”. The results were based on evaluation of long-term data from the last 30 years and were measured in all water depths.
Sea level rises 2.8mm annually
The salinity of the Mediterranean Sea is higher than that of the Atlantic, for example, because more water evaporates than is added by rivers flowing into the inland sea. Exchanges with the Atlantic are very limited because the Strait of Gibraltar is a close connection. In addition, it was found that the sea level is rising on average about 2.8 millimeters per year. A significant acceleration in this development has been observed since the 1990s.
New heat record at Sonnblick
threat to biodiversity
According to other studies, the increase in water temperature and salinity is endangering biodiversity in the Mediterranean. In the warmer Mediterranean waters, there are now nearly 1,000 non-native species that are spreading further north and west each year, displacing native species in the process, wrote the environmental organization WWF.
Some native species, such as Adriatic sturgeon and deep-sea cardinal, are threatened with extinction. Huge jellyfish are a problem for fishermen and tourists alike, and the climate crisis is increasing the risk of extreme weather.
What to do against the heat?
Hottest July ever measured expected
According to estimates by the EU climate service, Copernicus, and the chief climatologist of the US space agency NASA, Gavin Schmidt, July 2023 will be the hottest July in the world in the history of measurement to date. Schmidt emphasized on Thursday: “We are seeing unprecedented changes around the world, the heat waves we are seeing in the US, Europe and China are breaking records.”
Several heat spikes have already been overcome this month, according to measurements from the EU and the University of Maine, which use ground and satellite data to model preliminary estimates.
While they differ slightly, the extreme heat trend is unmistakable and likely to be confirmed by the most robust monthly reports from US officials, Schmidt said.
Schmidt: Heat mainly in the oceans
Furthermore, not only the climatic phenomenon “El Nino” can be blamed for the effects, which “have just begun”. Even if “El Nino” plays a small role, it is “global heat, virtually everywhere, especially in the oceans”.
There have been record sea surface temperatures, even outside the tropics, and this has been going on for many months, Schmidt said. The climatologist also assumes that development will continue “because we continue to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere”.
The world has warmed by almost 1.2 degrees Celsius since the mid-19th century. The consequences of this are extreme weather phenomena, such as severe droughts, more violent storms and more intense heat waves. Asia, Europe and North America are currently suffering from prolonged heat waves. High temperatures cause health problems like heatstroke and cardiovascular problems, not to mention the impact on glaciers.