Surfing the Global Heatwave: Atlantic Edition

As the world grapples with the ongoing global heatwave, unprecedented seawater temperatures in oceans across the world have sounded yet another alarm about the devastating impact of human-driven climate change on marine life and ecosystems. Surface ocean temperatures, particularly on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, are setting global records for the hottest ocean temperatures in history. These extreme readings, coupled with more frequent heatwaves in oceans around the world, highlight the urgent need to address climate change and its dire consequences on our planet - before it's too late. 

This past July has already shattered historical records as the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, surpassing the previous decade's record-breaking temperatures. Connected by currents running between the east coast of the United States to the west coast of Europe, the Atlantic Ocean is heating up faster and higher than ever in recorded history - demonstrating the harrowing truth that our planet’s ecosystems are no longer on the brink of disaster - but are in the midst of it. 

A water temperature buoy located in the Florida Everglades National Park recorded record-breaking temperatures this week, up to a staggering 101.19°F (38.43°C) - reading a shocking 30 degrees above typical summer temperatures - higher than we have ever recorded in history. To put this into perspective, the temperature is now comparable to that of a hot tub. And if you think that sitting in your hot tub too long is painful - imagine what it does to the creatures below the surface that have no escape. Such high temperatures pose a grave threat to marine life, causing destruction to kelp, seagrass, and coral ecosystems, and an extensive loss of marine life. Think about it like an underwater wildfire, burning up everything in its path. 

A recent article even states that teams in Florida dedicated to ocean restoration are urgently moving coral samples to tanks on land to avoid the marine heat wave - where they’re seeing coral die before it even has a chance to bleach - as if it just melted on the spot. And here’s the scariest thing about this all - the safest place for coral, is now out of the sea.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, Europe is experiencing its own crisis as the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea registered their hottest-ever levels this week - reporting a record average sea surface temperature of almost 90°F in the North Atlantic. Unfortunately, it also seems the warming is likely to continue, with experts predicting that the records will likely be broken again this summer. 

Ocean currents, like the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), connect these two hotspots and play a vital role in regulating climate patterns, nutrient distribution, and maintaining biodiversity in marine environments. Global heatwaves like the one we are currently experiencing have the potential to slow down or collapse these currents - resulting in devastating consequences for not just marine life, but human life worldwide.

If we don’t make some seriously big changes right now, the disruption of these ocean currents has the possibility to cause unfathomable shifts to global climate patterns. Such as:

  • Cooling in parts of the Northern Hemisphere could lead to extreme weather events in certain regions - like the Mediterranean under several feet of snow
  • Accelerated sea-level rise along North American and European coastlines could be fatal to coastal communities and infrastructure.
  • Stormier winters in Northern Europe could result in increased hazards for inhabitants and disruptions in agricultural cycles.
  • Reduced rainfall in Africa and in monsoon regions of Asia could exacerbate water scarcity and food insecurity for millions.

But we haven’t lost hope, in fact we're even more determined than ever. The scientific community's findings and concerns about the potential collapse of ocean currents highlight the urgency of addressing climate change - and doing so in ways that are tangible to each and every one of us - regardless of where we are on this Ocean Planet.

Reducing carbon emissions is the first step in mitigating the consequences of anthropogenic climate change, and preserving our threatened ocean ecosystems. And it’s not just opting for renewable energy sources that are the cure-all. We must take immediate action toward embracing sustainable practices, and actively work towards removing the emissions we have released into the atmosphere in the first place. Starting with restoring the natural solutions that already exist and urgently need our help to fulfill their vital role: Earth’s blue carbon ecosystems, which can absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide emissions to help reverse climate change, will be key to cooling the planet back down for everyone. 

European coastlines are at the forefront of this climate crisis - at risk of boiling up in front of our eyes. In the face of this news, we’re continuing to work hard at planting and restoring blue carbon ecosystems, effectively reversing climate change by sequestering dangerous emissions back into the ground and out of the atmosphere.

We are proud to be supporting new restoration and protection projects in Portugal and Spain – including a seagrass and macroalgae restoration project on the island of Mallorca, in the Mediterranean- aimed at protecting critical marine habitats and safeguarding marine biodiversity. Now, we need your help to mitigate the escalating global heat wave and its repercussions on our ocean’s health.

You can now take immediate action as we have officially just opened up our seagrass and algae restoration project in Mallorca, Spain to all of you, so you can join in and take charge of the future of your planet. 

Last week, we had the exciting opportunity to visit our new site in Formentor Bay with our partners at MedGardens. During this visit, we were lucky enough to capture some epic content (with the help of our pals at Protect Blue) of all the incredible work being done to restore seagrass and macroalgae - and witness firsthand the impact your support has on these critical ecosystems. 

Your support of this project goes beyond restoring seagrass and macroalgae; it enables holistic activations, marine debris removal, local community education, volunteer support, and reversing the damage done to these vital underwater forests  before it's too late. Together, we can work towards a healthier planet, one where ocean ecosystems thrive, and dangerous emissions are buried deep, ensuring a better (and colder) world for generations to come. 

Head over to the link below to support this incredible project and know you are part of an impact that has the potential to save our oceans once and for all.