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97°F water in the Keys: Experts are very concerned about coral reefs in Florida

97°F water in the Keys: Experts are very concerned about coral reefs in Florida

A coral expert has warned that rising water mercury in southern Florida could endanger coral reefs along the coast.

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The warning comes from Bill Brecht, a coral reef specialist for 45 years, as water temperatures reach alarming levels near Key West.

“I’ve never been so worried about the future of coral reefs in Florida,” he said in an interview with local channel WFLA. If more than 90% of what is left is destroyed, there will be almost nothing left.”

According to data recorded since 1975, coral cover is now around 3%, as opposed to over 30% in the 1970s.

On July 10, the water temperature reached 97 degrees Fahrenheit in the community of Johnson Key. For other beaches in the state’s favorite Quebec, the mercury averages around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, well above the July average of 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

Getty Images via AFP

A NOAA expert met by WFLA shares the same concerns as Bill Brecht.

The latter is concerned about abnormal mercury at the beginning of July, when ocean temperatures generally peak at the end of August.

France Press agency

A century ago, coral reefs thrived in temperatures that rarely exceeded 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

At the coral [sont trop longtemps] In hot water they turn white as they expel algae that live in their tissues. “If the heat continues long enough, the corals can die,” explains Derek Manzilo.

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In addition to human activity, which has caused the surface temperature of the Atlantic Ocean in Florida to warm, the meteorological context in recent months has not favored a downward trend.

Areas of high pressure from the Atlantic Ocean did not appear over the state, resulting in weak winds.

El Niño will also cause sea surface temperatures to be higher than average.