Unrefreshing Water in Florida Heat: A Disappointing Experience

Located in Key Biscayne, Florida, the state’s southern tip, the scorching hot summer weather has created an extraordinary phenomenon, reminiscent of a hot tub.

Surprisingly, this peculiar scenario has occurred in parts of Florida, where the ocean water has reached temperatures that resemble a heated tub.

Recently, the National Weather Service reported that sea surface temperatures soared to an astonishing 101.2 degrees Fahrenheit (38.4 degrees Celsius) in Manatee Bay, emphasizing the unusualness of this occurrence.

However, scientists have hastened to clarify the complexities surrounding Monday’s reading.

Amidst the oppressive heat and humidity, Chelsea Ward from Fort Myers, Florida, aptly described the indistinguishable boundary between the moist air and the water, creating an unprecedented experience for those seeking solace in the ocean.

The phenomenon of experiencing triple-digit ocean temperatures in Florida is nothing short of awe-inspiring, even for the locals who have grown accustomed to the region’s scorching heat, and for the numerous winter-seeking retirees who have made this vibrant state their refuge from the bitter cold of the northern winters.

It is worth noting that some neighboring areas also witnessed soaring temperatures, although not as extreme as those in Florida.

The mercury climbed to the mid-90s, roughly equivalent to 35 degrees Celsius, causing discomfort among residents and visitors alike.

However, Mother Nature came to their rescue when a much-awaited storm finally arrived on Wednesday, bringing much-needed relief and causing water temperatures to plummet back down to the relatively more tolerable range of the 80s, equivalent to approximately 29 degrees Celsius.

Water has long been regarded as a natural haven for humans seeking respite and rejuvenation. With the arrival of summer, countless individuals eagerly don their swimsuits, seeking solace from their routine responsibilities and worries by spending a blissful day on the beach, luxuriating in the refreshing embrace of the water.

Furthermore, swimming pools represent an inviting alternative, providing not only an avenue for personal rejuvenation but also a gathering place for like-minded friends.

However, as with any pleasurable pursuit, there can exist a critical point at which the allure of water is diminished. Such is the predicament faced by Ward, a 47-year-old resident of Fort Myers, who has, regrettably, decided not to carry her beach bag in her car any longer, despite residing a mere stone’s throw away from the pristine stretches of sand that undulate along the coastline.

The cause of this unwelcome change of heart lies in the rising water temperatures that have rendered the once-tempting waters unbearably warm.

A recent rendezvous with her friend on a Sunday afternoon proved underwhelming, as the duo made a joint decision to eschew their beach excursion once they discovered that the water temperature measured an astonishing 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius).

In times of high temperatures, the human body employs the mechanism of sweating to cool down, as the sweat evaporates and releases heat.

The act of immersing oneself in the ocean is usually incredibly refreshing due to the efficient transfer of heat from the body into the water.

However, as water temperatures rise, this effect becomes less pronounced, resulting in a slower loss of heat. This insight comes from the expertise of Michael Mullins, a toxicologist from Washington University and an emergency medicine physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

In contrast, when immersed in a hot tub or a body of water that exceeds body temperature, the transfer of heat is reversed, leading to an unpleasant experience, particularly on a scorching and humid day in Florida. Mullins aptly describes this sensation as akin to swimming in soup.


Swimming in the Florida waters, particularly during a scorching week, has become increasingly rare. The combination of muddy water and the presence of alligators and crocodiles in the vicinity discourage people from engaging in aquatic activities.

Nevertheless, soaring temperatures anywhere can render swimming a less inviting prospect. In the case of Phoenix, which experienced temperatures exceeding 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) on a daily basis throughout this month, this sentiment rings particularly true.

As a result, public pools have become excessively warm, prompting individuals like Stefanee Lynn Thompson, a resident of Lake Havasu City, located approximately 150 miles (240 kilometers) to the northwest, to explore means of ensuring a refreshing pool experience for her guests during a pool party on Sunday.

Motivated by a friend’s suggestion, Thompson hurried to the grocery store, procuring a total of 40 ice blocks which she promptly dumped into the pool, and she also set up several fans in an effort to combat the heat.

Despite her ardent efforts, the pool’s temperature only managed to drop by a modest 4 degrees Fahrenheit (2.2 degrees Celsius).

In recent times, there has been a noticeable increase in ocean temperatures along the western coast of Florida, surpassing the normal range by a few degrees.

These elevated temperatures have been hovering around 88 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (31-32 degrees Celsius), presenting an alarming deviation.

However, the adverse consequences of warming oceans extend far beyond human discomfort. Sea corals, a vital component of marine ecosystems, are now facing bleaching due to the escalating water temperatures exceeding the upper 80s (low 30 degrees Celsius).

The month of July, marked by scorching temperatures, has witnessed scientists announcing a global heat record even before its conclusion.

As our climate continues to evolve, the world is gradually turning into a hotter place, with its oceans experiencing significant warming. This, in turn, contributes to the intensification of certain storms, thereby heightening their destructive potential.

While sea surface temperatures in the vicinity of Florida are comparatively higher than usual, they are strikingly greater in certain regions of the North Atlantic, particularly near Newfoundland.

In these areas, temperatures have soared up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) above their regular levels.

The occurrence of exceptionally high sea surface temperatures earlier this week near the southern tip of Florida can be attributed to a combination of factors.

Abundant sunshine played a significant role, accompanied by minimal winds and the absence of any storms.

Such favorable conditions facilitated the accumulation of heat in the ocean, causing an unprecedented rise in temperatures.

It is crucial to recognize and address these alarming trends as they provide further evidence of the far-reaching impact of climate change on our world’s oceans.

According to Andy Devanas, the science officer at the National Weather Service in Key West, Florida, the unprecedented rise in temperatures in Florida Bay has left him astounded.

Having spent over two decades in the Keys, Devanas claims to have never witnessed temperatures reaching the scorching 100-degree mark in this region.

This revelation is alarming, as it signifies a significant deviation from the norm and potentially highlights the intensifying impact of climate change.

With Florida Bay being renowned for its diverse ecosystem and delicate balance, such extreme temperatures could have far-reaching consequences on the environment, wildlife, and the local communities that rely on these resources.

The implications of this unprecedented occurrence demand immediate attention and further investigation to comprehend the underlying causes and devise strategies to mitigate the potential repercussions.


The recent temperature reading of 101.2 degrees in Manatee Bay on Monday has raised concerns about its representativeness.

It is important to consider the unique characteristics of this location, such as its shallow water and the potential impact of sediment, which can contribute to higher water temperatures.

David Roth, a forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, has highlighted these factors as potential influences on the temperature readings.

In contrast, the YMCA pools on the North Shore of Massachusetts near Boston offer a notably different experience, with water temperatures ranging from 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 to 27 degrees Celsius).

Additionally, the nearby ocean is comparatively cooler, with sea surface temperatures off Cape Cod barely reaching the mid-70s (approximately 24 degrees Celsius) this week.

For individuals like Maria Argueta, who works at an open-air decorative plant nursery in Homestead, Florida, the heat has become increasingly intense.

When she has free time, Maria, along with her family, enjoys visiting swimming spots to cool off. This year, however, Maria has noticed a notable difference in the intensity of the heat.

As temperatures continue to rise, it is important to monitor and understand the varying climate patterns across different regions, as well as the potential impacts of human activities on the environment.

By doing so, we can better prepare ourselves for the challenges posed by changing weather conditions and work towards sustainable solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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Living in Florida, the hot ocean water doesn’t bother her much. However, sometimes she prefers taking her 2-year-old son and other family members to the Venetian Pool, a public facility located in Coral Gables.

This pool is fed by water from an aquifer that remains consistently in the 70s. She finds the very cool water to be truly refreshing.

The humid weather of Florida makes it difficult for sweat to evaporate and cool down the body effectively. People residing in south Florida are well aware that the ocean doesn’t provide much relief from the suffocating heat.

According to Roth, a local expert, the ocean water in south Florida during summer doesn’t offer significant cooling benefits.

Consequently, people rarely venture into the water for purposes other than swimming, as it is comfortable to swim but not as refreshing as one might expect.