Warmest Oceans Ever

Scientists confirm record high global water temperatures

As you probably guessed, red means record warm. And that's most of the planet.

As you probably guessed, red means record warm. And that’s most of the planet. Graphic: NOAA

This entire summer, California surfers have been enjoying the warmest water in most of our memories. Here in San Francisco, we’ve been wearing springsuits since July, an extreme rarity in these parts, and certainly not something you’d expect to be able to get away with for months at a time.

Now the bad news: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just announced that this summer has seen the warmest ocean temperatures ever recorded. Just two months back in June, the oceans already posted the highest average temperatures in history. August was even warmer. In case you’re wondering, reliable records have been kept since 1880.

There’s been a bit of back and forth in the scientific community about whether or not we’re in store for an El Niño for the rest of the year, with June’s warming trend making it look likely before July’s temps dipped ever so slightly. Now, with this new information showing the Pacific warming again, NOAA pegs our chances of an El Niño winter at 60 – 65 percent probability. Which means that 2015 will probably be even warmer than 2014.

These numbers aren’t restricted to just ocean temperatures. The entire earth is seeing similar rises.

For decades, we’ve seen freakish predictions about global warming patterns coming down the road. The thermometers don’t lie: We’re about to plow into those temperatures head on.