FL - Drilling down on 101 degree water temperature recording near the Florida Keys. What we know
While the news from earlier this week that a buoy near the Florida Keys recorded a water temperature of 101.1 degrees is alarming, it's not unprecedented.
It's not even the record for Manatee Bay, the observing site where the data came from, said David Zierden, state climatologist at the Florida Climate Center in Tallahassee.
The record for the Manatee Bay site is 102 degrees. It was set on Aug. 15, 2017. Going further back, Zierden said the site recorded a temperature of 100 degrees in 2010.
Something to point out: the Manatee Bay gauge is very close to land, south of Biscayne Bay, and measures the water temperature at a depth of 5 feet.
"Keep in mind that the observations in Manatee bay are in shallow water in a closed off cove with dark seagrass on the bottom," Zierden said. "I would not consider them a "sea surface temperature", as that implies open ocean."
Even though there is a bit of a "tap the brakes" vibe when it comes to this week's excessive water temperature news that is making headlines, it comes with "the backdrop that coastal and open ocean temperatures are still running much above normal for the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and around the Florida Keys," Zierden said.
What will it take to cool the water temperatures in Florida?
Good news. What goes up, must come down. Eventually the coastal water will cool off, but there's still lots of summer to go.
"For Manatee Bay, temperatures will come down with a period of rainy or cloudy conditions and/or stronger winds," Zierden said. "Flushing with the tides will also help. They may continue above normal for an extended period, but not at these extreme values."
Until these things start happening, your best bet for relief might be one of Florida's underground springs. Florida springs bring up fresh water from deep in the aquifer
"They are fairly uniform at 72 degrees in all seasons of the year," Zierden said. "Certainly a refreshing swim with the heat we have been experiencing!"